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'My brothers asked not to attend rugger practice'

Jan 31 (DM) UPFA MP Namal Rajapaksa said that his two younger brothers-Yoshitha and Rohitha-who were members of SL Army and Navy rugger teams, were asked not to attend rugby practice without citing any reasons. “Just a few days ago, my brothers – Rohitha and Yoshitha – were both informed, by telephone, not to attend rugby practice. No reasons were given. They were just asked not to come,” more..

Justice Minister promises solutions to law students’ problems

Jan 31 (Island) Newly appointed Justice and Labour Relations Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe yesterday assured the law students at the Sri Lanka Law College (SLLC) that the issues raised by them would be resolved soon. He was addressing a meeting organised by the SLLC Law Student’s Union (LSU) at the college main hall. Secretary to the Ministry of Justice Kamalini de Silva and SLLC Principal Dr. Jayatissa de Costa more..

Canada seeks power devolution

Jan 31 (CG) Canadian Govt says it will continue to encourage progress in the devolution of power, accountability and genuine reconciliation in Sri Lanka. Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said that it is Canada’s hope that President Maithripala Sirisena fulfills the mandate given to him by the people of Sri Lanka to foster a transparent, responsive and pluralistic govt. He also welcomed the reinstatement of Shirani more..

Being a new Sri Lanka – Part 2

Jan 31 (CT) I’ve often heard the refrain “I’m not interested in politics”. If “politics” here means the latest political gossip – what X’s son did, who Y snubbed, etc – I’m not too interested either! However, if it means how our rulers use the power we have given them, we need to think again. Their power is public power, and they hold it for us. If we don’t keep an eye on them, they will probably abuse it. Start small on this one. If you aren’t a newspaper person, read an article on more..

Towards an independence day for national unity and reconciliation

Jan 31 (LG) It is only four days to go for the Independence Day celebrations. It appears that the positive input from the Minister of Foreign Affairs has come to make the celebrations more meaningful. Earlier indication was to have the day on the theme of wholesome motherland, dignified tomorrow (piripun maubimak, abiman heta dinak). That was adequate if Sri Lanka were to celebrate the event under normal circumstances. However, Sri Lanka is now moving away from the previous more..

Sri Lanka landslide survivors look for shelter

Mandated for Change?

Jan 31 (NS) Some of the pre-election predictions were proved while others were disproved. The last governing party was proved to have lived in a bubble and was burst by the ‘will of the people’. Some call it, ‘Peoples’ real vote’, ‘revenge vote’, ‘true democratic vote’ ‘Anti Rajapaksa vote’ and many other versions. The current president and the 100 day miracle-promise cannot afford to live yet in another bubble, because several individuals like MP Ramanayaka and some rank and more..

There is still hope for Sri Lanka’s minorities

Jan 31 (GN) Sri Lanka’s minority communities, especially the Tamils, must cast aside their reservations and give the newly-elected govt of President Maithripala Sirisena a chance to heal old wounds. Sirisena is reaching out by reversing the clock on the people’s suffering in the civil war that ravaged northern parts of the country. This was once the bastion of the LTTE, who fought a brutal war for a separate homeland for the Tamils. The decision to return private land seized by more..

Finance Minister Ravi K’s money laundering case postponed

Jan 31 (CT) Colombo High Court yesterday postponed the case against Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake who has been charged with allegedly facilitating money laundering, for March 4. The case as postponed by High Court Judge Devika Tennakoon when Defence Counsel Reinzie Arsekualaratne informed the judge that Minister Karunanayake was unable to be present before the Courts yesterday as he was more..

Trade union coalition wants employees taken on contract confirmed in service

Jan 31 (Island) Trade Union Coalition for a Just Society (TUCJS) yesterday urged the govt to provide permanent employment to all those recruited from man power agencies on contract basis. Convenor of the TUCJS, Saman Ratnapriya said that some state institutions had recruited workers on contract basis. The govt should make permanent those who had completed 180 days of service and those who had required educational qualifications, he added. Giving permanent appointments to more..

Hakeem calls to expedite Eastern Province development work

Jan 31 (DN) Minister Rauff Hakeem has directed officials to expedite urban development work in the Eastern Province which was carried out at a snail's pace in the past. Addressing a meeting at the ministry auditorium, he said all current and envisaged development projects in the Central and Eastern Provinces should be implemented with accent on the govt's 100 day programme. The minster said these included major and minor water supply projects in the Eastern Province. more..

Mohan Peiris says his removal as CJ was ‘unlawful’

Jan 31 (AD) Mohan Peiris says that he has not retired, resigned or vacated the office of Chief Justice and that, however, due to exertions by external forces he has been displaced from office through an “unconstitutional process.” “I have not retired, resigned or vacated my office of Chief Justice, but, due to exertions by external forces reinforced by an extra judicial chain of events, find myself displaced from office by more..

Committee of top retired officers appointed to probe SLTB, Railways

Jan 31 (Island) On the instructions of President Maithripala Sirisena, a committee comprising a retired senior Administrative Service Officer, senior police officer and senior officers of the Auditor- General’s Department had been appointed to investigate large-scale corruption in the SLTB, Sri Lankan Railways, National Transport Commission (NTC) and the Road Passenger Transport Authorities, Internal Transport Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara said. more..

Reactions to Interim Budget 2015; upside, downside

Jan 31 (DN) The Daily News obtained public reactions to Budget 2015 from people from different walks of life. Pensioners, private sector employees, public servants, etc were among those responding. According to Mrs. Mithrarathne (63), a retired school teacher, the interim budget 2015 has offered significant relief for pensioners like her. "Earlier, it was very difficult to manage with the very high cost of living. Pensioners received Rs.1,000 and a lot of other relief. more..

‘Ensure improved climate to protect press freedom in Lanka’

Jan 31 (PTI) A US-based journalist advocacy group has asked the new Sri Lankan govt to ensure improved climate for press freedom and to take concrete and meaningful steps in this regard. In an open letter to the new President Maithripala Sirisena, the Committee to Protect Journalist (CPG) said, he has the opportunity to write a new chapter in country’s history. “Under your leadership, Sri Lanka can regain confidence of its journalists more..

Implementing law to the letter will help probe past misdeeds - Asgiriya Prelate

Jan 31 (DN) Since difficulties and opposition may arise in investigating past misdeeds, implementation of the law to the letter without partisanship will help overcome problems, said the Most Ven. Udugama Sri Buddharakkhita Mahanayake Thera of the Asgiriya Chapter. Prelate said this delivering an Anusasana when Justice Deputy Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe called on him at his temple and received his blessings. Deputy Minister also called on the Malwatte Prelate at his temple more..

Carlton Foundation vehicles found in Colombo 4 land

Jan 31 (ST) The aerobic instructor for the former First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa was this week questioned by police in connection with the find of eight vehicles including two ambulances on an empty land situated at Lauries Road in Colombo 4. Bambalapitiya Police officials said they had recorded the statement of Kanthi Ranchagoda, proprietor of Dance Works Centre in Lauries Road, Colombo 4 since she was in possession of the key to the gate that protected the land. more..

Young junior minister rescues another calf elephant from illegal captors

Jan 31 (Island) In less than 48 hours of taking into custody a baby elephant kept in a Temple at Polhengoda, Deputy Minister Wasantha Senanayake joined hands with the Wildlife Department to rescue another three-year-old elephant at Pelmadulla yesterday. He said that anybody keeping elephants illegally should surrender them to the wildlife authorities as soon as possible. He assured that the culprits would not be punished if more..

Audio: Hybrid car prices will go up due to tax revision

Jan 31 (DM) Vehicle Importers Association Chairman Mahinda Sarathchandra said that prices of vehicles below 1000 cc would come down only by Rs. 25, 000 in the wake of the 15% tax reduction announced in Thursday’s mini budget while all hybrid cars would go up by as much as Rupees one million. He said the 172.5% custom duty which had been imposed on cars below 1000 CC was reduced to 155.25% which would result in a decrease of Rs. 25, 000 for cars below 1000 cc. more..

No arbitrary arrests of people unlike during Rajapaksa regime: Justice Minister

Jan 31 (DN) Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe said they will not arrest anyone at will, the way the previous Rajapaksa regime did without ascertaining the legitimacy of the case and with utter disregard to people's fundamental rights. "If we did arrest people in the way the Rajapaksa regime used to do, this govt would look like another Rajapaksa type of govt," he explained. He said this in response to a question by Daily News as to why there have been few arrests considering the large number of more..

Into the jungle with Sri Lanka’s last hunter-gatherers

Jan 31 (DB) Over two thousand years ago, a lion made love to a beautiful woman in India, and their son, Sinhabahu, was born with lion paws for hands and feet. Sinhabahu in turn had a son called Vijaya, who became the first, legendary king of Sri Lanka (the people call themselves Sinhalase—meaning ‘lion people’) after he and 700 followers arrived on the tropical island, off India’s South East coast, some time around 500BC. more..

Expert body to guide and promote food chain efficiency

Jan 31 (ST) A food security committee has been set up to monitor and control the production, harvest, distribution, and pricing of essential food items produced locally to create a balancing act between the consumer, producer and the trader, it was announced earlier this week. The committee will comprise officials and experts from the Ministry of Agriculture, Mahaweli, Department of Agrarian Development, Paddy Marketing Board, CWE (Sathosa), selected academics from more..

Thugs attack Provincial Councillor

Jan 31 (CT) Chief Minister of Western Province, Prasanna Ranatunga has demanded that President Maithripala Sirisena take action against those who attacked and assaulted the Provincial Councillor for Wattala and other Ministers who were with him. Furthermore, a complaint has been lodged stating that the assault took place in the presence of Minister John Amaratunga, he said adding that the assault was an insult to President's good governance efforts. more..

Kamalesh Sharma arrives in Sri Lanka

Jan 31 (AD) Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma arrived in Sri Lanka today for a three day official visit. In Colombo, Mr Sharma will meet Sri Lanka’s new President Maithripala Sirisena, who became the Commonwealth’s Chair-in-Office following the recent Presidential elections. Secretary-General will also meet PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera to discuss more..

Tri-shaw fares down by 10% from Feb. 1; School vans by 5%

Jan 31 (Island) The three-wheeler associations had agreed to a 10% fare reduction and all school van owners had agreed to reduce their charges by 5% from Feb 1, Internal Transport Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara announced. He said that he had met three wheeler drivers’ associations and school van owners last week. During the discussions, he stressed the need for reducing fares charged by three-wheelers and school vans. He also pointed out that as the bus fares had been reduced after more..

SriLankan Airlines air hostess dies in tragic motor accident in Doha

Jan 31 (AM) Ammendra de Kauwe is the SriLankan Airlines air hostess who was killed in a motor accident in Doha early on Friday evening. She is a resident of Raddoluwa, Sri Lanka. the Air hostess's boyfriend, Hilary Perera, who is also a member an Airline staff, has received injuries due to the accident. Officials confirmed that six passengers were onboard the jeep, which was on desert safari, at the time of the accident. Meanwhile, Neomi Aluthgamage, the wife of SL Air Force pilot more..

Faizer Mustapha to resign on Monday

Jan 31 (AM) Civil Aviation State Minister Faizer Mustapha, who is displeased with the appointment of Ajith Dias as SriLankan Airlines Chairman, is to officially resign from his ministerial portfolio on Monday. Mustapha is going to resign from his position on the grounds that he was kept in the dark about the appointment although he was the duly appointed state minister to overlook the subject. Ajith Dias, a prominent business more..

We don’t need Packer says PM

Jan 31 (CG) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe says Sri Lanka does not need businessman James Packer to invest in a casino project in Sri Lanka. PM said that the new Govt had cancelled three casino licenses including one which was offered to Packer. “Packer is saying he will not come to SL. Who asked you to come? Please don’t come,” the PM said. Premier accused the former Govt of removing people from their homes by force in order to clear land for businessman like James Packer. more..

BASL defends Mohan’s removal

Jan 31 (CG) Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), in a statement, stood by the decision to remove Mohan Pieris as Chief Justice, saying his appointment was unconstitutional, null and void and of no force or effect in Law. The BASL said that from 2013 onwards it had voiced the unwavering position that the purported removal of Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake from the Office of Chief Justice was unconstitutional, null and void and of no force or effect in Law and that, therefore, the purported appointment of more..

'Parliament to be dissolved by April 23'

Jan 31 (DM) PM Ranil Wickramsinghe has announced today that the Parliament will be dissolved by April 23. He had stated this at a meeting held for UNP organisers in Kandy. "We should start the organising now and work hard towards establishing a UNP govt at the upcoming general election," he had stated. Meanwhile he had also commented on 2015 interim budget that was presented before Parliament on Thursday. more..