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Missing Persons panel to submit final report in August

June 6 (PTI) A Sri Lankan presidential panel probing the alleged disappearances of thousands of people, including minority Tamils, during the deadly civil war will present its final report in August. "We are hoping to be able to release the final report in August," said H W Gunadasa, secretary to the Presidential Commission on Missing Persons. International experts appointed to advise the Commission more..

SLMC asks Prez, PM to grant administrative set-up for Tamil speaking people in Ampara

June 6 (Island) The SLMC is pushing for a full-fledged administrative set-up for Tamil speaking people in the Ampara District in case the President Maithripala Sirisena-Premier Wickremesinghe govt couldn’t immediately grant the Ampara Muslims a District of their own. The SLMC wants predominantly Tamil areas linked up to create an exclusive zone. SLMC Chairman Basheer Segudawood, MP, has written to President and Prime Minister requesting their immediate intervention. more..

Report on Wilpattu resettlement presented to President

June 6 (AD) A report prepared by environmental organizations on the controversial issue of resettlement within the Wilpattu Sanctuary boundaries has been presented to President Maithripala Sirisena. Addressing the gathering yesterday at the Presidential Secretariat, President Sirisena assured that he would not let any person to damage the environment. He added he would take the final decision on the resettlement in related areas after he gets the reports from parties more..

'Sri Lanka did not blackmail Australia with boat people'

June 6 (EN) Sri Lanka did not blackmail Australia by encouraging people smuggling, former Minister G.L. Pieris said, denying suggestions that Canberra had been cowed by the ousted Rajapaksa regime by a flood of people. "To suggest that we blackmailed Australia on the people smuggling issue that is devoid of any truth," Pieris said. He said both Australia and New Zealand had helped Sri Lanka with hosting the CHOGM more..

Customs DG restrained in Lamborghini case

June 6 (Island) The Court of Appeal yesterday restrained the operation of the letter dated May 26, 2015 signed by Director General of Customs, written to Euro Sports Auto Lanka Private Limited, stating that the request for re-exporting the Lamborghini vehicles has been turned down. The aforesaid letter further directed the petitioner to pay all applicable taxes for vehicles within ten days, of the date stated. The respondents, Director General of Customs and K.G. Jayawardene superintendent of more..

Love in the time of Tamil Tigers

June 6 (Hindu) It was only appropriate that I was recently watching the live telecast of the Cannes award ceremony with a Sri Lankan Tamil friend who is a producer. After a fairly mundane ceremony, largely consisting of the French giving themselves awards, my friend whooped with joy at the finale when Jacques Audiard’s mostly Tamil film, Dheepan (about a Sri Lankan Tamil refugee family in France) won the Palme D’Or. This led to a heated debate about whether the same subject, more..

Committee reviewing ban on diaspora

June 6 (CG) A committee is reviewing the ban on some diaspora groups and individuals. The former Govt had gazetted the listing of the groups and individuals but the new Govt said there was a requirement to review the ban in order to take the reconciliation process forward. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mahishini Colonne said that following the Al Qaida terrorist attacks in September 2001, the Security Council of the United Nations, more..

Son watches TV beside dad’s corpse

June 6 (E24|7) A 46-year-old man in Kalaganwatta area has been arrested in connection with the death of his father. He sat watching television while his 79-year-old father was lying dead in bed. The suspect – an army deserter and father of two – was out on bail. He was arrested three years ago for allegedly murdering his wife. He called police to inform them of the death of his father. He claimed that his elderly dad had gone out to attend nature’s call and had to be carried back home as he had a fall. more..

Counsel pile on evidence of violation of liberty and going outside the law

June 6 (Island) The strictest interpretation must be given to the arrests made by the Financial Crimes Investigations Divisions (FCID) which was an illegal entity; those arrests deal with the liberty of a citizen, said President’s Counsel Sanjeewa Jayawardene in the Supreme Court. He supported the fundamental rights violation petition filed by Dr. Nihal Jayatillake, the former Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Development. Jayewardene told the Supreme Court that if the FCID was to be legal, more..

Opposition confident no-confidence will pass

June 6 (CG) The opposition today said it was confident the no-confidence motion against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe will pass in Parliament. UPFA MP G.L Peiris said that while 112 MPs had signed the motion, there are others who could not sign it and so the actual number in the end will be higher. “Some of those who support the motion could not sign it because they did not get the opportunity. more..

Politics vs Constitution-building

June 7 (SO) There was a political joke doing the rounds in the 1980s when the current Constitution was being amended and further amended and, yet again amended, in accordance with the interests of the regime of the time using its steam-roller five-sixths majority in Parliament. The joke was that when a researcher in the UK went to the famous British Museum Library and asked to access the Sri Lankan Constitution, he was guided to the 'Periodicals' section. more..

Dissolution of parliament and thereafter

June 7 (SO) The cry for dissolution of parliament is now inclusive of all parties but President Maithripala Sirisena, who alone can make the decision, was holding back last week because he needed to push through constitutional amendments such as the 20th Amendment to which he has pledged himself. Meanwhile the political tempo is stepping up with whatever consensus that existed between the ruling minority govt of the UNP and SLFP members who comprise majority in parliament cracking up. more..

Dissolution dilemma

June 7 (SO) There is significant discomfort being a minority govt dependent on a majority opposition’s support for survival. The day-to-day affairs of the govt has become vexatious, as the ruling UNP is now finding out. By Friday, the writing was on the wall. UPFA that has been clamouring for a majority-led govt, eventually mustered 112 signatures in support of a no confidence motion against PM Wickremesinghe. more..

Political chess continues

June 7 (Island) The pawns continue to be moved on the political chessboard but it is difficult to predict what the eventual outcome will be. Constituents of the UPFA forged by Mahinda Rajapaksa, including a section of the SLFP, argue that it is unethical for the hopelessly outnumbered minority govt led by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to remain in office. But until the no confidence motion against Wickremesinghe was handed in to the Secretary General of Parliament on Friday, more..

Coke reduces losses in 2014, bullish on SL, explores strategic investment

June 7 (Island) Coca Cola Beverages Sri Lanka Ltd., had succeeded in reducing its pre-tax loss of Rs. 326 million to Rs. 111 million during the year ended Dec. 31, 2014, the company’s chairman, Mr. Asoka Wickremesinghe has said in the annual report. He reported that Coca Cola had "recorded an acceptable level of performance" during the year "in the face of an unstable and volatile political and business environment." Wickremesinghe reported that Coca Cola remains bullish more..

'We will work hand in glove with international agencies'

June 7 (SL) The coalition led by UNP received the mandate under President Maithripala Sirisena’s election manifesto to form the present govt. Their main promises at the election campaigns were to establish democracy and ensure a corruption free Sri Lanka. However, some people observed that the investigations into corruption allegations are a little less convincing. Minister John Amaratunga said that the unit appointed to more..

Will it be Que Sera Sera for Susil and Anura?

June 7 (CT) A split in a major way is now visible in the SLFP with President Maithripala Sirisena who leads both the SLFP and the UPFA determined to effect major changes to the top rung of both entities. The incumbent General Secretaries of the two entities, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and Susil Premajayantha have now fallen on bad books of Maithri by trying to promote Mahinda Rajapaksa in an indirect manner. Maithri who kept a close tab on the activities of Yapa and Premajayantha more..

UNP govt under seige

June 7 (Island) Pro-Mahinda group’s no confidence motion against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe was handed over to the secretary general of Parliament on Friday. The motion had been signed by 112 MPPs. 112th MP to sign was Douglas Devananda. Due to the prevailing political crisis, history is being made in this country day by day. Never has a no-confidence motion against anybody or any govt been submitted in a SL parliament with signatures of half sitting members of parliament. more..

'I empathize with Namal'

June 7 (CT) Shaveen Bandaranayake Kariyawasam, son of former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake in an interview clarifies as to what led him to respond to MP Namal Rajapaksa on a facebook comment, which later went viral. Q: Who is Shaveen, other than being the son of former Chief Justice? A: That was the first time someone asked me something to that effect. If I tell you a little bit about my background, more..

Unseen side of recent Jaffna incidents

June 7 (NS) The unfortunate chain of events that unfolded in Jaffna a few days ago could well be the first of that magnitude reported for quite some time. The mob was asking for the physical custody of several men who were accused of gang raping and killing a young girl while the men were being produced before a magistrate. Perhaps they were in a hurry to give the accused the harshest punishment without waiting for the usually slow legal process. Whether it was some spontaneous reaction more..

Battle on to lessen Mahinda influence

June 7 (SL) Nearly five months after losing the presidential poll, Mahinda Rajapaksa continues to enjoy a wide support although the government’s effort to abate that popularity is also gaining ground. Rajapaksa has made visits to temples around the country, one of his current political projects, and for good reason. He continues to promote the illusion that he is the champion of the Buddhist faithful and his visiting to temples is merely an extension of that. Mahinda is under no illusion that the minority more..

'Drugs came to North after May 2009'

June 7 (CT) Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran said that 150,000 security forces personnel were still occupying the North as if the war was not over yet. He alleged that drugs were deliberately introduced to the North after 2009. He also said he is unaware of a local mechanism to probe alleged war crimes. Q: What is your take on the formation of a broader alliance of Tamil political parties – namely Tamil Progressive Alliance more..

Republic Day and Constitution making

June 7 (Island) It is Republic Day that we must celebrate, and not Victory Day or Remembrance Day. The latter serve to perpetuate the memories of perhaps one of the most unfortunate chapters, an ugly scar, in the history of our beautiful country that is best forgotten. It is true the country was saved from the sufferings of a brutal war and the consequences of division, by the military victory over the LTTE, and those who sacrificed their lives and limbs in the effort that helped to re-unite more..

Rape Culture

June 7 (Island) The recent brutal rape and murder of 17-year old schoolgirl last month in Jaffna is the latest attack on women in a long line of similar attacks, in Jaffna, in Sri Lanka and indeed in the world. We are aghast and inflamed against this cruelty, we will protest and demand justice, and then go serenely about our lives – until the next brutality. The culture of rape is flourishing, thanks to the masculine conviction of the subordinate status of women, which is common currency more..

Noodles in oodles of MSG trouble

June 7 (NS) Hot on the heels of a nationwide ban in India over the Maggi food scare where samples were found to contain high salt content, MSG and even excess lead, the Ministry of Health in Sri Lanka is now calling for stricter regulations on the use of flavor enhancers in products such as instant noodles. An Extraordinary Gazette Notification which was issued under the directive of then Health Minister, Maithripala more..

Enforce women’s representation

June 7 (CT) If women may be responsible for three of the top four foreign exchange (FX) earning sectors in the country, why cannot they also play a similar role in political decision making in the island? Those top FX earning sectors are remittances from overseas (housemaids) which is number one, garments (number two) and tea (number four). Sri Lanka's third largest FX earner is tourism and women tourists, though alien, too contribute to its performance! more..

Out to regain reputation

June 7 (CT) Javelin Queen Nadeeka Lakmali is a prime medal hope of Sri Lanka on this last day of the 21st Asian Athletics Championship here at Wuhan, China. Three leading female javelin throwers aren't participating in the championship giving more chances to Lakmali, and the two Chinese athletes Liu Shiying and Yang Xinli are the only ones who could throw further than 60 m. Lakmali has a personal best of 60.64m and was in form end of last year, again throwing around the 59m mark. more..

Jonty Rhodes surprised by Lankan call-up

June 7 (NS) Former South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes said that he was surprised when Sri Lanka Cricket approached him to assist them with their fielding. “I was very surprised that there was a concern about the fielding in Sri Lanka because our boys have great respect for the way the Sri Lankan team is fielding,” said Rhodes at a press conference. Rhodes, an outstanding fielder of his time is on a 10-day coaching stint more..

Probe into alleged medical negligence at private hospital

June 7 (ST) Private Health Services Regulatory Council (PHSRC) and police are investigating a complaint of alleged medical negligence filed against a private hospital in Colombo. The complaint is with regard to a 79-year-old man who allegedly died after undergoing a barium enema on January 14 during which he is alleged to have gone into cardiac arrest. He died on Jan 30. “The complaint made to PHSRC was forwarded to Western Provincial Director of Health, Dr. Deepthi Perera for inquiry,” more..

Lamborghini cars – once again hot topic in the country

June 7 (ST) Italian-made Lamborghini cars have once again turned out to be a hot topic in the country amidst a Customs move to bar the re-export of these vehicles. Customs action to stop the re-export of three Lamborghinis brought down for demonstration purposes by Euro Sports Auto Lanka (Pvt) Ltd was thwarted by an interim order issued by the Appeal Court on Thursday. In a May 26 letter, Customs turned down a re-export request from the company directing it to pay all applicable taxes more..

Slow death for aging Lanka Salusala

June 7 (ST) State owned handloom textile wholesale and retail giant in the 1960s, Lanka Salusala Ltd is now breathing its last with the govt’s latest decision to give a golden handshake to 253 employees. The voluntary retirement scheme proposed by the govt will signal the end of the only state textile trading enterprise which enjoyed a protected domestic market during former PM Sirima Bandaranaike’s regime in 60s and early 70s. more..

Bigger role for Kusal Janith ?

June 7 (Island) It’s been more than two years since Kusal Janith made his international debut in Adelaide and apart from one or two bright spots; the left-handed opener hasn’t done anything significant. Low on confidence after a series of poor scores, Kusal was dropped from World Cup squad after being groomed for cricket’s showpiece event as the national cricket team’s opening batsman. Several injuries saw him returning as a late replacement and played two games in the competition. more..

Excise Dept. raids Upali’s restaurant

June 7 (CT) A stock of alcohol worth Rs 1,000,000 meant for illicit sale was confiscated by the Excise Department on Friday night during a raid carried-out on a prominent restaurant in Colombo. According to Deputy Commissioner of the Excise Department, Prabhath Jayawickrama, the raid was carried-out at the Upali's restaurant in Colombo 7. A special squad attached to the Excise Department that conducted the raid had confiscated over 400 bottles of foreign liquor. more..

Govt, Diaspora talks in UK

June 7 (SL) Govt was to have talks with the Tamil Diaspora in London over the weekend in an attempt to take the post war reconciliation process forward. Sources said that a Minister, who was visiting London, was to meet leading Diaspora groups while a Parliamentarian from the TNA was also to attend. Foreign Ministry said the Govt welcomes the meaningful participation of all diaspora groups and persons of SL origin more..

Pioneering Cinnamon study reveals eight different Sri Lankan travellers

June 7 (ST) Sri Lankans have unique needs as travellers from the red carpet seekers to those who want it My Way according to a pioneering research study carried out on domestic traveller trends by the Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts. This indigenous leisure brand backed by parent company John Keells Holdings (JKH), commissioned the first-ever independent research survey on domestic travellers to gain insights into their needs and behaviours, so as to be better equipped to more..

Paedophile’s attempt to kidnap 8-year-old thwarted

June 7 (CT) Brutal rape and killing of a schoolgirl in Pungudutivu opened the eyes of the society. While the politicians and social analysts were busy with their hair-splitting, mothers took extra care of their children. Day before Poson Poya, a mother was heard wailing near a school in Puttalam town. She cried saying that her daughter was missing. She was in the second grade. People of all communities were awakened and they searched the surrounding areas for the missing little girl. more..

Another high-profile Chairman under Industry and Commerce Ministry to quit?

June 7 (Island) With last week’s resignation of Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) Chairman, Rumy Marzook, speculation is rife that another high-profile head of a key institution under the Industry and Commerce Ministry is also contemplating stepping down due to unwarranted interference and non-appreciation of his work by a controversial politician. The bigwig mulling bowing out as the Chairman of a govt venture dealing more..

Mercmarine to bring in latest engine simulator to Sri Lanka

June 7 (ST) Mercmarine Training is all set to embark on its latest venture in bringing state-of-the-art maritime training facilities to Sri Lanka. The institute will open a Marine engine room simulator, which is the latest version of Transas, model 5000 TECHSIM, full mission—slated to be the best and most advanced engine room simulator in the country, a media release issued by the company disclosed. The company has formed its own Marine Engineering Training department and more..

Gen Sharif meets SL’s army commander

June 7 (TN) General Raheel Sharif, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) who is on an official visit to Srilanka, visited Army Headquarters and called on Lieutenant General A.W.J.C De Silva, commander of the Srilankan Army. Upon arrival at Army HQ, General Raheel Sharif was presented guard of honour by a smartly turned out contingent of Srilankan army. Later, General Raheel Sharif was given detailed briefing about operational and training aspects of srilankan army. more..

Double standards on dual citizenship

June 7 (SO) Over 2,000 applications for dual citizenship have been approved by the Immigration and Emigration Department during the period this service was suspended by the last Govt. Most of the 2,224 applications approved by the Department at the time, with clearance from the Defence Ministry, were received before the suspension came into effect in January, 2011. But there had been a few special cases which more..