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Establish independent commissions before election: CaFFE

June 15 (NS) Holding a general election without establishing independent commissions, specially elections, police and public service, would lead to another corrupt and violent election, CaFFE said. “A group of MPs, who are infamous for conducting corrupt and violent election campaigns, are attempting to thwart the attempts made by 19A to establish independent commissions. This is the reason why they prevented the appointment of three civil members to the Constitutional Council. more..

SLFP admits party split as some back UNP

June 15 (CG) SLFP admitted that there is a split in the party as some members are now supporting UNP. UPFA MP Dullas Alahapperuma said that those who are supporting former President Rajapaksa are not attempting to divide the SLFP. However he noted that there are now several SLFP-UNPers in the Govt as they are backing UNP policies. He said that a mass rally held in Matara last week was not held with intention of creating more..

Air India starts Colombo-Delhi flight

June 15 (PTI) Air India today introduced its second flight to Sri Lanka with the launch of a non-stop service from here to Colombo. Air India currently operates to Colombo from Chennai. The 182-seater inaugural Airbus A321 flight from Delhi, which took off from Terminal-3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport here at 1200 hours was given a ceremonial water salute after it landed at Colombo's Bandaranaike Airport at 1535 hours, Air India said in a release. more..

Brothel inside Central Bus Stand

June 15 (CT) Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) Monitoring Officers attached to the Central Bus Stand in Pettah in charge of the Central Bus Terminal (CBT) complained of a litany of wrongs plaguing the CBT including rampant bribery and corruption on the part of officials. Minister of Internal Transport Ranjith Madduma Bandara and the Chairman of the SLTB visit the venue but they only look at the surface of things and do not talk to anyone, the Monitoring Officers noted, more..

Govt says detention only a last resort

June 15 (CG) The Govt says that detention of irregular migrants is a step taken only as a measure of last resort and always for a very short time period in order to make necessary arrangements for their departure. The Govt was responding to a report by the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau. The report notes some concerns about foreigners detained in Sri Lanka for violating their visas. more..

First anniversary of senseless carnage on Aluthgama Muslims

June 16 (CT) Monday June 15, marks the first anniversary of the unwanted and senseless racist pogrom on innocent and helpless Muslims at Aluthgama, Dharga Town and Beruwala which ended up in the political funeral of the Rajapaksa brothers who were accused of being behind these calculated atrocities. Killing of Muslims, looting of their belongings and the destruction of their properties were meticulously planned and executed to military precision in all these three places. more..

Cynical? Truth is apologists can’t understand crisis

June 16 (CT) That was a response I got for my very open critical tweets on this Maithripalanaya and the way so called experts in civil society respond to the major crisis we are heading to. Socio political and economic instability. The tweep does accept I have been right in my political projections, but consoles himself saying I’m negative. That has been the escape route for most Maithripalanaya apologists. While Rajapaksa played around plundering our economy with cronies around him, more..

On MERS alert!

June 16 (SO) The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which has claimed 10 lives and affected another 122 is spreading fast, especially in South Korea. Where 2,890 have been quarantined. Should there be cause for concern here? Have any Sri Lankans working in South Korea been affected with the syndrome? Officials at the SL embassy in Seoul have urged Sri Lankans working and living in South Korea to more..

A volunteer’s story from post-tsunami SL

June 16 (GV) Just over ten years ago, a powerful undersea earthquake caused a devastating tsunami that rapped around two-thirds of Sri Lanka’s coastline on Boxing Day, at around 8:30am. Being a holiday, locals were fishing, bathing and playing on the beaches. Within a matter of minutes some 35,000 people were dead, thousands were missing and over half a million survivors would soon be displaced. Having lived in Sri Lanka a few years before the tsunami struck, more..

The Anti-Mangala Brigade should get a life!

June 16 (NS) Foreign Ministry has acknowledged that the Minister, Mangala Samaraweera, had indeed met with representatives of the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) while in London. There have been howls emanating from certain quarters over this meeting. It’s the usual story about compromising national security, betraying the memory of the thousands who laid down their lives to rid the country of the terrorist menace and poking his fingers in things not relevant to his ministry. more..

Malsha pooh-poohs night club scandal

June 16 (NS) Former Minister Jeevan Kumaratunga's daughter Malsha Kumaratunga says she is a playful person and would not change her lifestyle despite mudslinging campaigns carried out against her. Q: You were wearing a saree and keeping a basket of flowers in your hand to worship the Buddha when you entered politics. Are you the same Malsha in the pictures circulated via Facebook? A: I must say that I have never more..

Economic impacts of emerging political concerns

June 16 (ST) Nothing affects a country’s economic development more than its politics. Nowhere is this clearer than in the post independent economic history of Sri Lanka. The 67 years since regaining independence were characterised by changes in economic policy in every change of govt, creating uncertainty and discouraging domestic and foreign investment. Economic policy changes by themselves are not necessarily inimical to growth, but the persistent uncertainty more..

Coconut saplings for war widows: An innovative project worth emulating

June 16 (GV) Since the end of the war the Govt and other organisations within and outside Sri Lanka have being helping the victims of the war in the North and the East to enable them to resume their normal lives. Among the organisations that helped were many charitable institutions of the Tamils in the diaspora. Their affinity towards the members of their own community prompted them instinctively to help the victims who had survived the vagaries of the war. more..

'20th Amdt: Concerned citizens shocked'

June 16 (CT) Executive Director of CaFFE, Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon, spoke about the 20th Amendment, the fates awaiting those hindering the progress of electoral reforms, and why 255 MPs is a better idea than 237. Q: CaFFE has been one of the main organizations calling for electoral reforms. What are your reasons? A: Currently we have a Parliament with 142 MPs who have not passed A/L and with less than 5% of female more..

Editorial: Jumbos right

June 16 (Island) The UNP has, after some dilly-dallying, decided against a bigger Parliament. This is a welcome move. It does not make either economic or political sense to have more MPs. Some political observers are of the view that the number of parliamentary seats should go up in keeping with the increase in population since 1978, when the present Constitution came into being. They, however, do not take into consideration the large number of provincial councillors (457) including more..

Back President Sirisena, who holds key to future good governance

June 16 (Island) The opposition political rally held by supporters of former President Rajapaksa last week in Matara is being described as the largest such rally so far. Over 75 opposition MPs amounting to one third of the numbers in Parliament attended the event. The SLFP contingent amongst them, who constitute the vast majority, attended the rally in defiance of the decision taken by the SLFP hierarchy including President Sirisena that no member of the SLFP should more..

'Absence of Ajmal a huge psychological factor'

June 16 (CI) Sri Lanka head coach Marvan Atapattu has said the absence of Saeed Ajmal was a psychological boost for the home side ahead of the three-Test series against Pakistan that begins in Galle on Wednesday. "The major change that I see in this Pakistan side is that Saeed Ajmal is not there," Atapattu said. "He has been their main weapon and it's somewhat unfortunate that things have fallen that way. more..

Chinese construction firms here with big plans and big capital

June 16 (Island) President, Ceylon Institute of Builders (CIOB) Dr. Rohan Karunaratne said, after the launching of the formalities of Construction, Expo 2015, a symposium would be held to mark interest areas where China and other countries represented could discuss aspects of the local construction trade. Inclusive aspects of these discussions would be a business forum on numerous dimensions of the construction industry and more importantly investor possibilities in more..

Awareness walk to mark South Asian Student Conference on WASH

June 16 (GDI) South Asian Student Conference on WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene), the two day workshop will be held on June 16 and 17 at Ape Gama in Battaramulla. Inauguration ceremony will be held under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena at Ape Gama, while the concluding ceremony will be held under the patronage of PM Ranil Wickremasinghe. Also an awareness walk with the participation of 400 students representing 20 students from 7 SAARC countries and more..

A series to savour for the old-timers

June 16 (CI) Younis Khan, 37, two Tests out from a hundred, strides forward and presents an unyielding forward defence in the shade of a 420-year fort that has survived two sieges, numerous battles, and a tsunami. Hours later, Kumar Sangakkara, also 37, arrives for his first full training since landing in the country, and is similarly impregnable. He often is at this venue, where he became an international cricketer, and now more..

Sri Lanka to introduce organic certification

June 16 (EN) Sri Lanka’s national accreditation body is to introduce organic certification in the island this year as part of efforts to make its exports more competitive, Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said. “We believe that accreditation helps competitiveness of Sri Lankan products in international markets,” he told a meeting of the Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation, representing accreditation bodies in the Asia Pacific region. more..

Stateless in Tamil Nadu

June 16 (TS) That situation has not changed even today. Nandini was born in Arachalur refugee camp in Erode district of Tamil Nadu where her parents from the Northern Province of Sri Lanka took refuge in 1990 to escape from the ethnic war raging in the island nation. She completed her higher secondary exam with distinction, scoring 1,170 marks out of 1,200. She sought admission to Kilpauk Medical College in Chennai for MBBS course as she had the qualifying marks but was denied a seat more..

Krrish Square to take off

June 16 (DN) The much talked about Krrish Square development project in Colombo is finally set to take off. The Indian management of Krrish has also found an international contactor to build the project, a senior official of the Krrish Group, one of the Indian decision makers in Colombo said. "We will sign the agreement with the foreign developer this week," he said. The construction of the first stage is expected to begin in three months. more..

Sri Lanka security providers association hails Govt’s wage increase

June 16 (FT) Sri Lanka Security Providers Association (SLASSPA) has hailed the move by the Govt whereby the salary/wage increase for all private sector employees will result in the basic salary of the security guards being raised by Rs. 2,500 per month. It will be dispersed in two instalments; Rs. 1,500 being effective immediately and Rs. 1,000 from 1 January 2016. SLASSPA President Major Tissa Aluwihare said, “Sri Lankan security industry has been suffering from more..

US 70 million each on People’s Bank loan CSC to buy two vessels

June 16 (CT) The Ceylon Shipping Corporation will acquire two large vessels for the importation and transport of coal for which the People's Bank will provide a US $ 140 million loan backed by a Treasury Guarantee. The first vessel will be arriving in Sri Lanka in November this year and the second vessel will be arriving in March 2016 where both are being currently being manufactured in China, Chairman of the Ceylon Shipping Corporation Sashi Danatunga said. more..

'No more Defence Ministry supervision for NGOs'

June 16 (FT) Deputy Minister Harsha De Silva last week clarified that the Ministry of Defence would no longer play a role in supervising NGOs. “The facilitation and supervision of NGOs is not a responsibility of the Ministry of Defence any longer. Under the new Govt, those functions are now handled by the Ministry of Policy Planning, thus allowing them to serve the public and operate with flexibility and in a transparent manner,” more..

First Asia-Pacific conformity push takes off in Colombo

June 16 (CT) Ushering international recognition for Sri Lanka's conformity realm, the first ever Asia Pacific accreditation confab took off in Colombo yesterday and the country has accepted 14 international standards in 2012/'13. "Under the purview of my Ministry, we have taken various measures to promote accreditations in Sri Lanka. This is done with a view to enhance living standards and even our exports. SL also issued 145 new ISO certificates and 14 international standards" more..

First International Day of Yoga in SL: June 21

June 16 (GDI) Special events have been planned in Sri Lanka on the occasion of the first “International Day of Yoga’’ (IDY), which is being celebrated across the world on June 21, 2015. Addressing a Press Conference on Monday, the High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka, Mr. Y.K. Sinha, stated that the highlight of the activities in Sri Lanka would be a large public event at Galle Face Green from 6.30 a.m. to 8.30 a.m. Apart from the print and electronic media, Press Conference was more..

'Solheim has no role in SL affairs'

June 16 (DM) Minister Mangala Samaraweera said that former Norwegian peace envoy Erik Solheim had absolutely no role to play in Sri Lankan affairs, but that his views on engagement with the diaspora, in the context of his long experience, were of value. In response to a Daily Mirror story headlined Erik Solheim back in SL affairs, he said, “Mr. Solheim was present very briefly on first day of discussions in London, more..

Allegation that minority representation will be affected baseless: NUF

June 16 (Island) National United Front (NUF) headed by M.M. Zuhair PC has said that the concerns expressed by some minority community parties alleging that the proposed electoral reforms will reduce minority representation in Parliament is baseless in view of sub-paragraph 4 of Article 99A of the present Constitution which clearly provides that the appointments of MPs through the National List at the conclusion of the final results of the general election must ensure that more..

Sri Lanka Tourism - Korean Air joint promotions in South Korean market

June 16 (SLT) Sri Lanka Tourism to drive the lucrative South Korean Market which is worth 14 million Travellers with a per capita income of $25,000 met up with the top hierarchy of Korea Air in Seoul- South Korea, on the side lines of the Korean World Travel Fair-KOTFA to agree, the strategy to partner joint promotions between Sri Lanka Tourism and Korea Airlines which can be beneficial to both parties said a communique from Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau. more..

GTF to work on four pillar strategy

June 16 (DN) Global Tamil Forum (GTF), largest Diaspora organization in Europe, said it worked on a four pillar strategy to engage with SL. GTF Spokesperson Suren Surendiran explained the Four Pillar Strategy. He said the first pillar is agreeing between Tamil representatives based in Sri Lanka and in the Diaspora, a Common Framework Agreement. “Second is engaging the civil society, political and non-political representatives more..

A model of reconciliation for Myanmar

June 16 (CSM) Of all the violent conflicts involving religion, one that really boggles outsiders is the persecution of the Rohingya in Myanmar (Burma). Since 2012, this Muslim minority has come under attack from the country’s majority Buddhists – with many monks, who normally teach peace and loving-kindness, at the front lines. About a tenth of Rohingyas have had to flee, many by dangerous sea journeys. Myanmar’s leaders are under pressure from the West to protect the 1 million more..

US hails fight against corruption in Lanka

June 16 (CG) The United States commended the people of Sri Lanka for restoring democratic institutions and combating corruption. In a statement to the UNHRC at the 29th session in Geneva, the US delegation urged the Sri Lankan Government to continue on its path of ensuring accountability and reconciliation. The US delegation also said that it looks forward to reading the report on Sri Lanka by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in August. more..

CEB to convert all diesel power plants to gas

June 16 (DM) The CEB will convert all its furnace oil and diesel powered power plants to gas powered plants in the near future using the gas deposits found in the Mannar basin which will be a major turning point of the economic, trade and industrial progress in Sri Lanka, Minister Champika Ranawaka said. Idea that SL possesses oil and gas deposits was floating since mid 20th century and there were several attempts to detect them. more..

'Air India Delhi-Colombo flights will boost Sri Lanka’s tourism'

June 16 (Island) The first ever Air India direct flight from Delhi to Colombo touched down at the BIA yesterday afternoon and was welcomed with the ceremonial water salute. The 182-seater A 321 landed in Colombo about 15 minutes before schedule despite inclement weather here. According to Ms Jaya Sharma, Air India Country Manager, the inaugural flight enjoyed a load factor of 150 economy class seats and eight business. The airline hoped to maintain a load factor of 80% and more..

Nearly 200 Indian fishing boats arrested this year

June 16 (CT) Navy Spokesman Commander Indika Silva noted that Navy boats regularly patrolled the Northern Sri Lankan waters and has apprehended a large number of Indian fishermen from January of this year. Commander Silva said 'approximately 200 Indian fishermen have been arrested. We have deployed enough boats along the International Maritime Boundary Line, which led to the arrest and the capture of 30 boats." He noted that most of the fishermen were arrested near Delft, more..

‘Proposed electoral reforms will wipe out smaller parties’

June 16 (Island) SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem yesterday alleged that the envisaged 20 Amendment to the Constitution was meant to wipe out minority as well as smaller political parties. The proposed electoral reforms would give undue advantage to the two major political parties, namely the SLFP and the UNP, hence inimical to others, MP Hakeem said. He said that the SLMC would oppose the proposed more..

'Even those who plucked young coconuts in our garden have turned against me'

June 16 (Island) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that those who had plucked young coconuts from his garden, too, had turned against him. "I tried to live a quiet life but they won’t let me," he said, "now, I’m ready to take them on." He alleged that those who had benefited from him were now carrying out a mudslinging campaign against him and his family. Striking a defiant note, the former President said such hostility had left him with no alternative but to re-enter politics. more..

'40 MPs did not sign no-confidence motion'

June 16 (AM) Debate over the no-confidence motion against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe took another dramatic turn as Deputy Minister Thilanga Sumathipala claimed that he and around 40 other MPs did not sign a no-confidence motion. He claimed that he signed a petition to be handed over to the President. However, it was later turned into a no-confidence motion a group of MPs, he said. There was no need for a no-confidence motion at the moment since the priority should be to more..