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Undiyal money transfer a threat to security

Jan 31 (NS) Along with the arrest of notorious drug kingpin Samantha Kumara alias Wele Suda, the hawala remittance system also commonly called the undiyal system has once again caught the attention of authorities. An informal money transfer system (IMTS), it was through this that supporters of the terrorist group LTTE were able to pump funds in to the organization during the height of the war. more..

Editorial: Budget batta

Jan 31 (Island) Santa apparently does not want to leave this country. He has been here since last November. He was sighted near Diyawanna on Thursday. The new govt has presented its mini budget or budget batta for 100 days. Its detractors say the mountain laboured and brought forth a mouse. But, it, in our book, is a textbook welfare budget which, if properly implemented, will help ameliorate the ordinary people’s economic woes to a considerable extent. more..

Laurels sit lightly on SL doc in the Caymans

Jan 31 (ST) On holiday in Sri Lanka, there is no undue excitement tinged with arrogance, only humble and matter-of-fact acceptance. On his return to the Cayman Islands, there awaits a great honour, which Dr. Sarath Seneviratne takes in his stride. Tomorrow (26), he will be bestowed the Award for ‘Emerging Pioneer in Health Services’and invited to join the PM of the Cayman Islands, Alden McLaughlin, for the subsequent celebrations which are part of the pomp and pageantry more..

Boston Lanka: January 31, 2015

Post-election reflections: Calling the ethnicists’ bluff

Jan 31 (ST) The election, we are told, was approved by presidential astrologers. As we all know now, they failed their political client miserably. What they could not predict, or did not wish to tell their client, was that the political fortunes of the people of this country were to change dramatically, and for the better. On Jan 8, an unprecedented 82% of voters turned up to vote, and the vast majority voted for change. Result announced on Jan 9 provided Sri Lankans with a dramatic opening to regain more..

Shoes for the IDPs to return to their original places!

Jan 31 (CT) After British PM David Cameron's visit to the Sabapathy camp for IDPs at Chunnakam in the Jaffna Peninsula, when he arrived in the island for the Commonwealth Summit in Nov 2013, another representative of the British Govt visited the camp recently. British Foreign Minister, Hugo Swire, visited the Sabapathy camp on Thursday and assured the IDPs that his government was confident that the new Govt of Sri Lanka would resettle them in their original places as early as possible. more..

IN: Student input into decision-making; OUT: Leadership prog

Jan 31 (ST) A system where councils and other decision-makers are accountable to students of the decisions they take, will be established immediately, said new State Minister Prof Rajiva Wijesinha. He intends to meet current students, once every two weeks. He has also decided to scrap the controversial ‘Leadership’ programme and recommence English programme, a pet project he introduced in 1990s. more..

Revisiting Conquest Democracy

Jan 31 (Island) We are presently witnessing the maturing of Sri Lankan democracy, specifically in the form of a transition from conquest democracy to consensual democracy. About a quarter of a century ago, perhaps it was in 1990 or 1991, I wrote an article in the Lanka Guardian under the heading ‘Conquest Democracy’. The title showed that I was clearly being derisive and my intent was satirical, aimed at poking fun at the stupid and brutal antics of the Jay Gang of JRJ and subsequently of more..

Casino operations in Sri Lanka

Jan 31 (FT) Casinos are not the playgrounds for the rich and the dashing anymore. The era when it was gentlemen in black tie and ladies in glistening jewels and evening dress is over. It is not super-sophistication – nor is it Westernisation. Great numbers from all walks of life play the wheel. Casinos have sprung up in Asia – Macau, Malaysia, Nepal, Goa and at one time in great numbers in Sri Lanka – still a licensed few are left. Attire is of little consequence but green backs collectively more..

Sri Lanka on right track to achieving sustainable democracy

Jan 31 (DW) Sri Lanka's new leader Maithripala Sirisena, who defeated former president Mahinda Rajapksa in the Jan 8 poll, says he wants to reverse the "revenge politics" of the former regime as he recently reinstated the country's former CJ Shirani Bandaranayake, who was impeached two years ago after she refused to support a law granting greater powers to Rajapaksa's brother. more..

Dinesh Saparamadu wins Entrepreneur of the Year 2014

Jan 31 (Island) Dinesh Saparamadu, Founder and Chairman of the hSenid Group, was awarded the Sri Lankan Entrepreneur of the Year award at the 19th annual awards ceremony organized by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FCCISL). This was the culmination of the Group’s wins, which included the coveted Gold for Extra Large category (Services). Dinesh collected his Platinum award (Entrepreneur of the Year) to a thunderous round of applause more..

What's next for Mahinda Rajapaksa?

Jan 31 (HP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa was voted out of office in early January. This came as a surprise to many. First elected in 2005, Rajapaksa was widely credited with winning Sri Lanka's civil war against the separatist Tamil Tigers in 2009. Maithripala Sirisena, a cabinet member in Rajapaksa's administration who was also acting defense minister during the end of the war, is now president. Trying to win an unprecedented third term, Rajapaksa called a snap election more..

Massive financial scams at SL Tourism

Jan 31 (CT) In the backdrop of alleged massive financial irregularities at Sri Lanka Tourism in the past years, Minister of Tourism and Sports, Naveen Dissanayake, said he would set up a committee to probe all complaints that have been brought to light. While Sri Lanka Tourism's IT Department and the Chairman's office are still sealed for further investigations, minister said, to begin with, he will appoint a new more..

Top Canadian and UK universities in SL

Jan 31 (Island) SLIIT Computing, a subsidiary of SLIIT, the premier degree awarding institute together with Memorial University, Canada is offering Sri Lankan students the opportunity to obtain a prestigious North American Business degree in International Bachelor of Business Administration (iBBA) and Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA). "Being an AACSB accredited Business school, Memorial University has been successful at national & international more..

JKH reports healthy profit growth in 3Q

Jan 31 (FT) John Keells Holdings (JKH) reported healthy profit growth for the third quarter and first nine months. It said the Group profit before tax (PBT) at Rs. 5.42 billion in the third quarter of the financial year 2014/15 is an increase of 27% over the corresponding Rs. 4.27 billion recorded in the previous financial year. The PBT for the first nine months of the financial year 2014/15 at Rs. 12.16 billion is an increase of 33% over the Rs. 9.11 billion recorded in the corresponding period of more..

Due process not followed when Avant Garde was given ‘sensitive’ armoury contract

Jan 31 (ST) Just as a massive police investigation got underway on private security firm Avant Garde’s floating armoury storage of weapons of international vessels, the shipping industry said it was awaiting the new govt’s decision on whether this work would revert back to Sri Lanka Navy (SLN). The business of providing storage for weapons was transferred to Avant Garde questionably without a due tender process, more..

Little England Cottages enhance Nuwara Eliya’s appeal as SL’s popular hill station

Jan 31 (ST) In today’s corporate world it’s not often that a business entity is taken over by the children of the founder chairman of the company. It is either another trusted member from the director board or a known trustworthy individual from the family background who is appointed to take over the company. Children now-a-days rarely follow the footsteps of the parents in taking over family businesses which have been running for a long time. They want to build their own company or more..

Video: JVP objects to wedlock at Uva PC

Jan 31 (LT) The administration of Mr. Harin Fernando who became the chief minister of Uva PC by getting the support of a group that included ministers who had been accused of frauds and corruption while the Council was ruled by the UPFA has been denounced by many. The portfolios retained by the chief minister and other ministries have not changed despite Mr. Harin Fernando is appointed as the chief minister. As a result former chief minister Shasheendra Rajapaksa takes more..

Six major probes at SEC were swept under the carpet

Jan 31 (ST) Some six probes involving large amounts of cash/share transactions were swept under the carpet without being ‘properly’ investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after the departure of Thilak Karunaratne, former chairperson SEC. These were serious investigations which showed blatant manipulation. “One was pumping and dumping of low valued hotel shares by a mafia don who more..

SL expats in Saudi welcome interim budget

Jan 31 (DN) Sri Lankan expatriates in Saudi Arabia have welcomed a new proposal made by the country's new finance minister to increase the interest rates for their foreign currency accounts in Lankan banks. In his interim budget unveiled on Thursday, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake announced that the interest rate for NRFC accounts in Sri Lankan banks will be increased to 5%. "The new rates will attract more remittances from abroad to Sri Lanka's national coffers," more..

Polls set for two Pradeshiya Sabhas

Jan 31 (CG) Commissioner of Elections Mahinda Deshapriya has decided to hold elections for the Pudukuduirippu and Maritimepattu Pradeshiya Sabhas on Feb 28, 2015. Local elections in the two Pradeshiya Sabhas were postponed by the court of appeal after writ applications were filed by petitioners requesting the court not to hold elections in 2011 stating that demining and resettlement was not complete. However the NPC elections last year and the Presidential elections this year more..

'We will go back, only if assured of safety’

Jan 31 (Hindu) Sri Lankan Tamil refugees at the rehabilitation camp at Melmonavoor here are willing to go back only if they are assured of safe and peaceful living conditions in the island-nation. An interview with a cross-section of the refugees in the camp (functioning since 1990) revealed that despite a change in the govt in Sri Lanka, they did not think that the situation was not conducive for them to return. more..

Sri Lanka’s Customs to work round-the-clock

Jan 31 (Island) Sri Lanka’s Customs service will work round – the –clock in order to improve the service offered to the people and the improve island’s trade efficiency, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. "In an endeavor to improve the service offered to the people of Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka Customs will extend their services on a round the clock basis, Karunanayake said, in presenting the interim budget 2015 in parliament Thursday. "Special thanks for the forthright manner more..

Jaishankar made significant contributions to India-Lanka relations

Jan 31 (ENS) India’s new Foreign Secretary Dr. S.Jaishankar is admiringly remembered in Sri Lanka for his sterling performance as a young Political Officer in the High Commission at a time when India had assumed humongous political and military responsibilities following the India-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987. “Jaishankar made a significant contribution to India’s efforts to settle the Tamil question at that time. He was objective, unbiased and focused,” said R. Sampanthan, senior-most leader of TNA, more..

‘Peiris approached MS, RW, CBK to retain his CJ post’

Jan 31 (Island) Mohan Peiris courted favour from President Maithripala Sirisena, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and former President Chandrika Kumaratunga in a bid to retain his position as the Chief Justice after the new govt came to power, Parliament was told. Those included unscheduled visit by Peiris accompanied by his wife to President Sirisena on the night of Jan 21 only to be turned away, PM Wickremesinghe said, more..

Apple vendors see red

Jan 31 (CT) Wholesalers and retailers of apples, in 5th Cross Street, Pettah highlighted their plight in terms of a drop in all apple sales due to a suspicion that red apples from the USA are contaminated with a bacteria that could attack the central nervous system. The sellers observed that fruit sales had dropped drastically due to this scare. Vendors noted that all fruit sales have suffered across the board, due to the USA red apples scare, where the apples are suspected to contain the bacterium more..

Ministers, MPs robbed over Rs 1,300 Billion

Jan 31 (CT) Ministers and MPs in the former govt had robbed nearly Rs 1,300 billion in public money and the JVP claims it had received nearly 2,000 complaints against those politicians within last two weeks. Voice against Corruption (VAC) convener and JVP NCP Councillor Wasantha Samarasinghe said, attempts were being made to change existing evidence against these politicians by obtaining information from the Bribery Commission. He urged the govt to enforce the law against those more..

UK tells SL: Release North & East land

Jan 31 (Island) Visiting British Minister Hugo Swire has called for the return of High Security Zone lands in the North, particularly in Walikamam North to the rightful owners. This was revealed by Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Minister D.M. Swaminathan at a media briefing. Minister was addressing the media after having met Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister of State for Sri Lanka, Hugo Swire. more..

K. Sripavan sworn in as Chief Justice

Jan 31 (AD) Justice K. Sripavan today took oaths as the 44th Chief Justice of Sri Lanka before President Maithripala Sirisena. Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake yesterday retired from service, after the resumption of office the previous day as the Chief Justice. Dr. Bandaranaike (57) was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1996. She was purportedly impeached by Parliament in 2013. Yesterday, she publicly announced her retirement at a ceremonial sitting of the Supreme Court. more..

2016 T20 World Cup comes to India; 2019 ODI World Cup in England

Jan 31 (ENS) ICC awarded India the 2016 Twenty20 World Cup after a meeting in Dubai. This was decided in the meeting in which the schedule for the ICC events for the next four years were decided. The T20 World Cup will be held from March 11 to April 3. The previous edition of the World Cup was held in Bangladesh which was won by Sri Lanka. India have won the first T20 World Cup in South Africa. Other nations which will host ICC events are England, Bangladesh, NZ and West Indies. more..

UNP, Opposition clash over CJ’s removal: House sittings suspended

Jan 31 (Island) Parliament sittings came to an abrupt end last evening following a clash between govt and opposition legislators over the removal of Chief Justice Mohan Peiris and the reinstatement of Shirani Bandaranayke as Chief justice. The Opposition clamour for a debate began after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had made a statement to the House detailing the process that had led to the removal of Peiris. more..

Respect free will of the masses

Jan 31 (CT) An economically progressive society operates on the basis that it respects the free will of the masses. Those liberties include freedom for its people to make money and also spend their money as they may think fit, without harming their neighbour. Among those basic human rights, is the right to go from point A to point B without any hindrance, the right to visit any place for one's own enjoyment, whether it be for a meal or a drink or for fellowship or a visit to the theatre and more..

Stop a hop from president to prime minister

Jan 31 (Island) Reducing the term of the Executive Presidency was not a matter discussed as widely as other constitutional changes proposed by the common opposition campaign. However, President Maithripala Sirisena has made the important and welcome announcement that the period of the Executive Presidency would be reduced to two five year terms, in place of the current six year terms. Another matter that needs urgent attention is the ability of a president to immediately move to more..

HRCSL alerts new govt

Jan 31 (SL) Many national and international human rights activists have observed that Sri Lanka is a country with grave human right violations – the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office also noted recently in an update on the situation during last three months of the last year that concerns over human rights situation of the country still remain. Previous govt was constantly accused of grave human rights violation more..

Finance minister defends controversial retrospective tax

Jan 31 (EN) Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake defended a deadly retrospective tax slammed on companies, which analysts fear is a tactic that is likely to be followed by future administrations to finance their election promises. The tax was supposedly to take back 'ill-gotten' gains. "It may be on the short run we have been offensive in certain areas but we have put fundamental reason as to doing so as well," Minister said. more..

The call of Galle: Sri Lankan homes in demand since end of war

Jan 31 (FT) The ruined ramparts of Galle Fort feel out of place in this peaceful seaside town. The bastioned stone walls, built by Dutch settlers in the 17th and 18th centuries, seem to belong to a faraway era when there was a threat of bloody conflict, not in what is now a quiet bay in southwest Sri Lanka. In fact, as recently as 2009, Galle wasn’t so far from bloody conflict. Although the south of the island remained relatively safe, more..

FTZ & GSEU demands wage rise for private sector employees

Jan 31 (Island) ‘We don’t argue for or demand the wage structure mechanism of the two sectors, public and private, be equated or made into a single wage structure. What we argue for and demand is a wage increase for the private sector, the Free Trade Zones & General Services Employees Union says in a letter to President Maithripala Sirisena. The immediate backdrop to this letter by the FTZ & GSEU is a letter which more..

FSP leader Kumar Gunaratnam fought a Guerilla war against the Indian army

Jan 31 (DBS) Leading Politbureau member of FSP Kumar Gunaratnam alias Kumara Mahathaya a.k.a. Noel Mudalige is very much in the news these days.There is much speculation that Kumar (whose full name is Premakumar Gunaratnam) who is currently in Sri Lanka on a month long tourist visa may not obtain an extension and may have to leave or be deported from the Island. Gunaratnam is currently a holder of more..

Return of the General

Jan 31 (ST) Former army chief Sarath Fonseka who was this week exonerated of all charges including treason by a presidential pardon declared that he would concentrate on a political career and sees no role with the military. Mr. Fonseka said that he would now prepare his party for the next parliamentary elections and plans to field candidates throughout the island. “We will definitely contest under our party. more..

Our plans are still on: Krrish official

Jan 31 (ST) Officials at the controversial Krrish project in Fort, which is yet to receive the full payment for it to get off the ground, say their project is still on. The project has been suspended for many years as a final payment amounting to 10% of the full lease and interest payments thereafter for payment delays. With the entry of a new govt and speculation about the future of this project which drew allegations of more..