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Crucial Cabinet meeting to adopt general framework on 20A

June 8 (DN) As a last ditch effort to arrive at a final agreement on the 20th Amendment, the Cabinet will meet today at 6.00 p.m. to adopt a general framework with regard to electoral reforms. At the meeting, President Maithripala Sirisena will instruct members of his Cabinet to arrive at an agreement on the basic framework of electoral reforms, leaving aside delicate and contentious matters, govt sources said. more..

Stop this poisoning of our tea

June 8 (DM) Last Friday, World Environment Day, the focused on the dramatic theme “Seven billion dreams: One planet, consume with care” and pointed out that while substantial environmental impacts from food occurred in the production phase—agriculture and food processing-- households influenced these impacts through their dietary choices. The UN Environmental Programme expose the staggering reality that 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year while almost more..

Equal women representation the first step

June 8 (DM) Sri Lanka’s current debate on electoral reforms has highlighted a demand for greater equality in gender representation through a quota for women representatives in Parliament. With women constituting over 50% of the country’s population and occupying less than 6% of Parliamentary seats, it is abundantly clear that female political representation in SL in indeed in a dismal state. Despite the call for a quota for women in Parliament being raised consistently over the years, more..

Women to power mangrove conservation

June 8 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's new mangrove protection scheme, the world's first country-wide initiative, is relying on women like Michel Priyadarshani, head of a fisherwomen's group in eastern Ambantotam village. Priyadarshani and her colleagues did not understand the importance of mangroves for the ecosystem, including the fish population, until they benefited from a program offering microcredit in return for looking after more..

The blame game

June 8 (SL) Former Monitoring MP, Sajin Vass Gunawardena maintains that he has been arrested simply on the strength of a statement made by Lalith Weeratunga, the former Presidential Secretary and head of Presidential Secretariat. Gunawardena maintains that he has been illegally arrested and remanded on the primary basis that the Presidential Secretariat appears to have simply not kept records of vehicle issuances and returns. more..

Late night call from President

June 8 (Island) From today, The Island will serialise an eventful, explosive, interesting, as-it-happened account written by Sri Lanka’s former Consul General to Toronto, Bandula Jayasekara. His Assignment - Assignment Toronto. Bandula served in Toronto, a bastion of LTTE activists, at a very crucial, until its end in May 2009, when the LTTE was defeated. In Toronto, he had to fight a heavy propaganda war against more..

All’s not well at Negombo Hospital

June 8 (ST) Urgent calls are being made for the crisis-hit Negombo Hospital, now under provincial administration, to be taken over immediately by SL’s main Health Ministry after an alert on the safety of its main building saw patients being evacuated quickly. In a related move, trade unions were also considering more drastic steps at the hospital if the authorities do not respond swiftly to the crisis, with emergency measures. more..

Dayasiri pledges support to MS

June 8 (Island) Wayamba Chief Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera said that he wouldn’t, under any circumstances, throw his weight behind on-going bring-back-Mahinda campaign. "I’m committed to President Maithripala Sirisena as well as the SLFP, therefore there’s no basis for speculation of my getting on the former President’s platform," CM Jayasekera said. Former UNP MP asserted that a section of the SLFP and some UPFA more..

Asylum seekers should not be sent back to Sri Lanka yet, say religious leaders

June 8 (Guardian) Sri Lankan religious leaders say it is too early to send asylum seekers back to the country, despite the recent change of govt. “My general view of the countries holding asylum seekers: please do not send them back immediately,” says Catholic priest and lawyer Fr Veerasan Yogeswaran. “There are positive developments. But at the same time these are not signs that everything is good and everything more..

Kiriella ridicules FSP over its non-existent leader

June 8 (Island) Minister Lakshma Kiriella accused the DNA MP Ajith Kumara of trying to deceive the public regarding the circumstances under which leader of the Front-line Socialist Party (FSP) Premkumar Gunaratnam had disappeared in the wake of the change of govt in January this year. He said that Galle District MP Kumara had conveniently forgotten Gunaratnam was no longer a Sri Lankan but an Australian citizen. more..

‘Settlements in Wilpattu are recent ones’

June 8 (DN) Environmentalists emphasised that the settlement of people clearing forest lands surrounding the Wilpattu National Park had been done blatantly violating the existing environmental laws and regulations. They made this observation in their report on the controversies surrounding the human settlements near Wilpattu which was handed over to President Maithripala Sirisena at Presidential Secretariat on Friday. more..

CID grills Upul over alleged threat to FCID

June 8 (AD) Southern Provincial Councillor D.V. Upul arrived at the CID to give a statement over several controversial comments made by him regarding the Financial Crime Investigation Division (FCID). The Colombo Chief Magistrate has also issued a directive prohibiting the Southern Provincial Councillor from travelling overseas, following a request by the CID. more..

MS not in favour of no faith motion

June 8 (DM) President Maitripala Sirisena is not in favour of entertaining the no confidence motion against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and believes that the enactment of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution should take precedence over anything, Daily Mirror learns. The President reportedly expressed his opinion in this regard at a meeting with the leaders of the political parties aligned with the UPFA. more..

Electing clean candidates

June 8 (CT) An independent Judiciary is the key to ensure that 'clean' electors are voted to office. Sri Lankans are expected to face a general election next year when the term of the present Parliament expires. However, chances are that an election may be held earlier. President Sirisena is reported to have said that a new Parliament will be in office in Sept 2015. A new Parliament in September means a premature dissolution of the present Parliament by Sirisena, by using his executive powers more..

No need to increase 225 to 255

June 8 (CT) It is possible that the UNP is excessively concerned that they might be disadvantaged if the FPP constituencies are reintroduced, as they were before (160+5 seats), going by the results of the 2010 elections. However, that might not be the case. If the political trend is for change, away from the past practices, like at the presidential elections, then the main beneficiary would be the UNP. I say this purely as an independent observer. more..

'Don’t let SL plunge into The dark era again'

June 8 (DM) The following is a translation of the speech delivered by the PM Ranil Wickremasinghe to Parliament on June 3. Hon Speaker, My colleague Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena has posed some questions regarding the appointment of the Central Bank Governor. I hope to present to the House a detailed answer to these questions. In a way, I am glad that he gave me this opportunity to clarify the truth and to talk more..

'Mahinda will contest under betel leaf symbol from UPFA'

June 8 (Island) Leader of the PHU and WPC Member Udaya Gammanpila said that former President Mahinda Rajapapksa would contest the forthcoming general election under the betel leaf symbol of the UPFA and the alliance would register the most impressive electoral victory in Sri Lankan election history. Gammanpila said that a large number of SLFP MPs would rally round former President Rajapaksa and that number would increase after the dissolution of Parliament. more..

Missing and murdered journalists: JPC seeks President's help

June 8 (CT) Jaffna Press Club (JPC) has requested President Maithripala Sirisena to hold an impartial investigation into the murders and disappearances of Tamil media personnel in the recent years. In a letter addressed to the President the JPC has mentioned that several Tamil media personnel including media workers had been killed or disappeared particularly in the last two decades in the North and East as well as in Colombo. JPC letter while welcoming President Sirisena's more..

Video: Debate no-faith motion now: Wimal

June 8 (DM) The No-Confidence Motion against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe should be debated immediately if UNP was not afraid of it and had confidence to defeat it, NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa challenged today. He said if the govt was requesting a special date in Parliament to make decisions on the Constitutional Council, it should also request for a day for the debate on No-Confidence Motion against the Premier. more..

Shares slip to over 7-week low

June 8 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's stock index closed at its lowest in more than seven weeks on Monday led by market heavyweight John Keells, with concerns over political uncertainty before elections to parliament denting sentiment. President Sirisena's govt has said it would dissolve parliament once some crucial reforms including an electoral bill are passed, but is yet to fix a date for the election. Main stock index ended down 0.62% at 7,078.66, slipping to its lowest close since April 15. more..

Sobitha Thero says MPs now like frogs

June 8 (CG) Chairman of the NMJS, Venerable Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero, says MPs have come down to the level of frogs in the recent past. He says the status of an MP has become like a product which can be auctioned at any time. “They jump from one side to the other. In the morning you find they are on another side,” he said. He said that under the proposed electoral system the rights for MPs to switch parties as and when they feel like it, should be abolished. more..

Solheim and Mangala hold talks in London

June 8 (CG) Former Norwegian Peace envoy Erik Solheim had talks with Minister Mangala Samaraweera in London yesterday. Solheim said that the informal talks were aimed at sharing experiences on reconciliation related issues. He said that there were others who had also taken part in the discussions and a statement was expected to be released on the talks later. Solheim denied reports that he had facilitated talks between more..

Diyawadana Nilame contest: Third contestant enters the fray

June 8 (Island) Basnayaka Nilame of Sri Natha Devale of Kandy, Gayan Heenkenda declared that he would contest the forthcoming election to the post of the Diyawadana Nilame (DN) of the Sri Dalada Maligawa. The Diyawadadana Nileme contest is expected to be a three cornered one. Others in the fray are incumbent Diyawadana Nilame Pradeep Nilanga Dela and former Diyawadana Nilame Neranjan Wijeyeratne. Term of office which is ten years of incumbent DN Dela ends by July 1. more..

No foul play suspected over finding of remains of missing sergeant

June 8 (Island) Widow of the police sergeant whose skeletal remains were found in a forest reserve in Ohiya along with some of his belongings yesterday said she had received no news about her husband for about three years since he left their Andagala residence at Mawathagama. Samantha Rajamuni (46) said she had last seen her husband Gunapala Pushpakumara (48) when he visited home on leave three years back while he was serving at the Settikulama police. more..

Supreme Court says Gota cannot be arrested

June 8 (AM) Supreme Court upheld the previous injunction order on arresting Gotabaya Rajapaksa for purported allegations mentioned in his Fundamental Rights petition to court. His arrest cannot be made by three respondents including the IGP, CID Director and DIG of the FCID regarding the incidents mentioned in his FR petition. Filing a motion, AG sought a clarification on interim order issued against arrest of Rajapaksa. more..

CP Chief Minister gives due credit to all

June 8 (Island) If not for Mahinda Rajapaksa, the former president, who as the head of the Armed Forces defeated the LTTE terrorism with the support of the war heroes, the brutal killings that started with the gunning down of Jaffna Mayor Alfred Duraiappah would have continued till the present moment, said Chief Minister Central Province Sarath Ekanayaka at the Ranaviru remembrance day of the Central Province on Friday. Ranaviru Day of the Central Province was held at more..

US-Sri Lanka lovefest continues – for now

June 8 (TD) Richard E. Hoagland, principal deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, recently spoke at the Washington International Business Council. He began by speaking about Nepal and then moved on to address improved U.S.-India ties. He also spoke about Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Central Asia, U.S. business interests, and the commercial advocacy work undertaken by the U.S. govt. This was a pretty standard speech and more..

Namal Rajapaksa summoned to CID

June 8 (AM) UPFA MP Namal Rajapaksa stated that he has been summoned to the CID to record a statement. He said on his Twitter handle that he was handed the summons a short while ago. “Just received notice to be present at the CID June 12 to record a statement, but no information has been given as to the reason” he Tweeted. This is the first occasion Namal Rajapaksa was summoned to record a statement by CID or more..

Gazette the 20A - CaFFE urges

June 8 (AD) CaFFE has urged the govt to approve the 20th amendment at the coming Cabinet meeting and to publish it via a gazette as soon as possible. Issuing a statement, Keerthi Tennakoon Executive Diretor “A minority of MPs are attempting to derail the 20A which would change our political culture which has been degraded by the preferential voting system. Most of these MPs are those accused of corruption and will not be those who can enter parliament winning an electorate. more..

Visitor quota for wildlife parks mooted

June 8 (EN) The head of Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings, has called for visitor quotas at wild life parks to prevent overcrowding and more effective marketing of the island destination. Sri Lanka’s unique attributes and its “hard to imitate” competitive advantage relies on the diversity it can offer within a small land mass, said chairman of Aitken Spence, Harry Jayawardena. “However, our natural resources in particular are in danger due to lack of policies, regulation and controls. more..

'Signatures on no-faith motion genuine'

June 8 (DM) Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva rejected govt allegations that some of the opposition members had not signed the no-confidence motion against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. He challenged the govt to debate the no-confidence motion and defeat it if the govt was confident that some of the 112 signatures were fraudulent. "If the govt thinks that we don't have the required numbers to pass the no-confidence more..

CID arrests D.V. Upul

June 8 (AD) The CID on Monday arrested Southern Provincial Councillor D.V. Upul over several controversial comments made by the politician regarding the Financial Crime Investigation Division (FCID). The CID summoned the Provincial Councillor to record a statement in this regard, this morning. The Colombo Chief Magistrate has also issued a directive prohibiting the Southern Provincial Councillor from travelling overseas, following a request by the CID. more..

'Appalling living conditions in FTZs'

June 8 (CT) The Employers' Federation of Ceylon (EFC) claimed that a high labour turnover in free trade zones has caused social problems as they lived in deplorable living conditions. " We need to now look at a more interests based approach as opposed to a rights based approach", Director General and CEO of the EFC Ravi Peiris said. The public sector still thinks in terms of the 1940s, whereas the Tamasek economic model of public-private partnerships is lovely, he cracked. more..

Video: 'People want army out of North'

June 8 (DM) Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Vigneswaran said today the people in the North would be very happy if the armed forces were withdrawn from the Northern Province because of several allegations levelled against the army. He told a media briefing at the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDCB) head office where Minister John Amaratunga and NDCB Chairman Nilanga Samarasinghe held a discussion more..

Following UK meet, funds to be sought for housing

June 8 (CG) Following the meeting held between the Govt, the TNA and the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) in London, it has been decided to seek funds to build houses for the war displaced families. A joint statement by TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran and Suren Surendiran, spokesman of the GTF, said that informal talks were held over the last two days in London with various stakeholders to enhance confidence building measures between all communities within and outside Sri Lanka. more..

Convict in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case undergoes medical tests for illness

June 8 (PTI) A life convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, AG Perarivalan, who was brought to Chennai from Vellore central prison, on Monday underwent medical tests at Rajiv Gandhi Govt General Hospital to determine his illess related to an infection. He underwent ultra sound, echocardiogram, blood and urine tests besides a culture (urine) sensitivity test, doctors told reporters. It may take upto three days to get the results of culture sensitivity test, they said. more..

'Not backing electoral reforms is a betrayal'

June 8 (EN) Sri Lanka's political parties that do not back electoral reforms to make campaigning less expensive are betraying the people, President Maithripala Sirisena said. "Delaying electoral reforms is a betrayal of the people," Sirisena told a party rally in Colombo. "In the next week or two political parties have to decide whether or not to support the electoral reforms." Sirisena who was elected as an apolitical common more..

BBS delegation to meet CB Governor

June 8 (AD) A delegation from the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) organisation will be visiting the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) on Tuesday to discuss the recent decision by a private bank to establish religious based banking system. In a letter to the CB Governor, the BBS has said that “We have got a number of complaints from bankers and citizens that CBSL is not taking any measures to ban introducing religious based banking practices which might create social division in the country. more..

Pro-Sirisena bills call for unity to face West threats

June 8 (ENS) Playing upon the fears of the majority Sinhalese, who are the main prop of the SLFP, a pro-Maithripala Sirisena pamphlet warns SLFP members that unless they unite under Sirisena, Sri Lanka will not be able to face the challenges thrown by the West in the form of economic sanctions and the setting up of an International War Crimes Tribunal to try members of the Lankan armed forces. The party is badly divided between the Sirisena and Mahinda Rajapaksa factions. more..

$100 million drop in trade between Pakistan and Sri Lanka

June 8 (TN) The newly appointed Pakistani High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Syed Hussain has expressed concerns over the decrease in trade between the two countries by US$ 100 million. “This is a saddening thing, especially in the backdrop of a Free Trade Agreement existing between the two countries,” the High Commissioner said. These comments were spoken at a meeting of members of Sri Lanka –Pakistan Business Council. more..