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Azwer chides Ministers for failing to take up community grievances with Kerry

May 7 (Island) Former UPFA MP A.H.M. Azwer accused the govt as well as Muslim politicians in the new administration of failing to brief US Secretary of State John Kerry as regards problems faced by the community. Azwer said that only four-party TNA had an opportunity to discuss contentious problems faced by the Tamil community, with Secretary of State Kerry. Asked whether he was opposed to US-TNA meeting, more..

Ranil appointed PM with people’s consent: UNP

May 7 (Island) The UNP yesterday rejected SLFP MP Dilan Perera’s claim that Ranil Wickremesinghe had been appointed Prime Minister on charitable grounds. Uva Province Chief Minister Harin Fernando said that SLFP MP Dilan Perera had claimed recently that Wickremesinghe was given the position of Prime Minister on charitable grounds (pinata) but in doing so he had only demonstrated his ignorance. more..

Sri Lanka safe from major quakes but home plate is splitting

May 7 (ST) Geologists claim Sri Lanka has very little chance of experiencing a major earthquake but point out the importance of preparedness given the disaster in Nepal. An earthquake usually occurs when two blocks of the earth suddenly slip past one another, hit each other or break apart as a result of tension caused by prolonged energy build-up. Geologists believe the Earth’s outer layer consists of seven or eight major plates more..

FSP MP moves Bill to increase private sector salaries

May 7 (Island) Galle District MP of the Frontline Socialist Party Ajith Kumara has submitted a private member Bill seeking parliamentary approval for making it compulsory for private sector employers to increase the salaries of their employees by a minimum of Rs. 2,500. "I handed over the Sinhala copy of the Bill to Secretary General of Parliament on April 28 and after two days it was accepted and sent to the Bills' office. more..

UNP buoyed, SLFP haggles with division

May 7 (DM) Campbell Park was engulfed with a bustling throng of people clad in blue during May Day Celebrations last year. But, in stark contrast, the ground was covered with a green canopy on May 1, this year as the UNP, the key ally of the present govt, chose it for its rally, and brought a huge crowd, heralding the UNP’s resurgence to its old self. The crowd has brought fresh hopes for the party and instilled spirit among its activists to more..

Rs 16,230 M loss to the GovSL

May 7 (CT) Additional Magistrate of Colombo ordered the Financial Crimes Investigation Department (FCID) to investigate the alleged financial fraud which caused a loss of US$ 122 million to the govt in the construction of the Kerawalapitiya Thermal Power Station. The Anti-Corruption Committee Secretariat told Court that CEB could have built Power Plant at a cost of US $ 210 million but they rejected that offer. more..

Maldives seeks Sri Lanka’s support

May 7 (CG) The Maldives today said it is seeking Sri Lanka’s support as it faces pressure from the international community over recent arrests. Ambassador-at-Large at the Maldives Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Naseer, said that the wrong picture has been portrayed over the May Day arrests. Naseer, who is in Sri Lanka to brief foreign diplomats based in Colombo with regards to the incident, said that the Maldives police more..

'Sri Lanka in no rush for sovereign bond'

May 7 (EN) Sri Lanka was in no rush to float an international sovereign bond, as domestic borrowing rates are now low, Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran said. "I don't want to jump into the bond right now because if you really look at dollar borrowing rates, even if the rupee depreciates, it means that we are paying more rupees to service our foreign debt," Mahendran said. "Even if you re borrowing at 5.75% that you have to add on more..

Cobra girl arrested for selling infant

May 7 (DM) Nirosha Wimalaratne, who shot to fame as the cobra girl and her husband Ruwan Abeysinghe were released on surety bail of Rs.100,000 each. Kekirawa Police said the couple was produced before the Kekirawa Magistrate on charges of having attempted to sell their 10-month-old infant son. They said the arrest was made on a complaint that the couple had sold the infant. more..

Will MR be another Antipov?

May 7 (CT) "United we stand, divided we fall." Yesterday this newspaper carried an article which said that President Maithripala Sirisena was due to meet his bete noire, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, at the President's Office in the Parliamentary premises yesterday. It's learnt that Sirisena had agreed for this meeting only on the grounds that issues pertaining to their common political party, the SLFP, were to be discussed at this event. more..

Allied Health Sciences tutors withdraw from teaching in protest

May 7 (Island) Tutorial staff and Principals of three Allied Health Science Training schools have refrained from enrolling or conducting lectures to 190 new recruits to Medical Laboratory Technology training schools from Tuesday demanding confirmation in service. Professionals Supplementary to Medicine (PSM) General Secretary, Saman Jayasekara said that teachers at three training schools at the Medical Research Institute (MRI), the National Institute of more..

Patali Champika Ranawaka with Sannasgala

Shares hit over 9-week high

May 7 (Reuters) Shares rose to over nine-week high on Thursday as local investors picked up certain stocks on earning hopes, but foreign investors exited from the island nation's risky assets. The main stock index closed 0.29% or 20.61 points firmer at 7,212.90, its highest close since March 3. It has gained 4.52% since the central bank cut key rates on April 15, while yields on t-bills have fallen 44-57 basis points since then. "There was some volatility in the market with some profit taking. more..

19A for the South & Zero for the North&East!

May 7 (CT) Sri Lankan Members of Parliament successfully adopted the 19th amendment on 28 April 2015. In a Parliament of 225 members, 212 voted in favour of the same. There is no doubt that this was a historical achievement. Usually the govt and the opposition cast their votes against each other. Even though there is a minority govt in Sri Lanka, the 19th amendment was adopted with huge support. Everyone close to the former President also voted in favour. more..

Sri Lanka promises to meet deadline for probe into war crimes

May 7 (PTI) Sri Lanka's new govt today said a domestic mechanism will be in place by September to probe into the alleged human rights violations during the final stages of decades-long war with the LTTE. Minister Mangala Samaraweera said that the domestic mechanism with foreign technical expertise to probe into the allegations of war crimes will be in place when next UNHRC session will meet in Geneva in September. more..

More than 13,000 apply for Korean proficiency exam

May 7 (Island) Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) yesterday said that a total of 13,083 Sri Lankans had applied for this year's Korean Language Proficiency Examination scheduled to be held on June 13 and 14. According to the SLBFE, the test would be conducted by the Examinations Department along with the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment and Human Resources Development Service of Korea (HRDSK). SLBFE Deputy Director Mangala Randeniya more..

Vehicle registration up due to low interest leasing facilities and Yen depreciation

May 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s vehicle registration grew 31.5% to 429,556 in 2014, backed by low interest leasing facilities, Japanese Yen depreciation against Sri Lankan rupee, rise of hybrid vehicle imports and increase in of motor cycle registration, Central Bank said. “The number of new vehicles registered during 2014 increased by 31.5% to 429,556 following a decrease of 18% in the previous year,” “The increment could be largely attributed to the favorable interest rates on leasing facilities, more..

FCID is politically biased: Gammanpila; Police denies

May 7 (LBO) Police Financial Crimes Investigation Division is a mere political tool that certain politicians get hammered, provincial councilor Udaya Gammanpila said. He told reporters that the newly established division is politically biased. "There is nothing in the world history; choosing complaints to be handed over to the Police. Today, if there is a major financial crime, we have to tell it to the sub committee headed by the PM," more..

SLFP tells UNP not to be misled by attendance at its May Day rally

May 7 (Island) The SLFP said it would be a mistake for the UNP to think that it was capable of winning the next parliamentary election simply because its May Day rally had attracted some crowds. Tens of thousands people participated at the SLFP May Day rally in 2014 under former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the same grounds and the rally had gone on until 9.00 pm, SLFP National Organiser and UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha told the media at the party head office. more..

Minority parties to announce 20A stance tomorrow

May 7 (DM) Political parties representing minorities would be able to finalize their stance on the 20th Amendment to the Constitution by tomorrow, Democratic People's Front (DPF) Leader Mano Ganesan said today. “The Assembly of Minor Parties (AMP) will meet tomorrow in Colombo to discuss proposals of the 20th Amendment. The minority parties are expected to arrive at a final response to the presidential proposals on 20A submitted to the Cabinet,” he said. more..

Video: 'I will resign if allegations proven'

May 7 (DM) Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said he would resign if anyone could prove allegations that he caused damage to Wilpattu sanctuary and resettled people within the sanctuary boundaries. “There were numerous reports which state that I have given land to families within the Wilpattu National Park. There were displaced people who were temporarily resettled in adjacent villages. I have no power to give land to anyone. more..

Cruise service soon between Kerala and SL

May 7 (IANS) Cruise ship service between Kerala and Sri Lanka is likely to begin soon, said a Sri Lankan minister. Sri Lankan Minister Gamini J Perera told reporters here on Thursday that the first round of discussions was held last month when a Kerala delegation came to Sri Lanka. "In a month's time, we expect to finalise all the details of operating cruise ships between Kerala and Sri Lanka" said Perera. The journey is expected to be completed in about 16 hours. more..

Fishermen challenge high tension line

May 7 (Island) The Court of Appeal gave the Attorney General time till July 8 to file written submissions in respect of the petition filed by the Walarpiradhi fishing committee of Puttalam which had complained that the extension of high tension power lines across the Puttalam Lagoon had disturbed the ecosystem and destroyed the fish and plants in the lagoon. The petition has said that the installation of those power lines from Norochchalai Power Plant to Anuradhapura more..

FCID serving Western interests: Wimal

May 7 (DM) NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa said the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) was set up on the request of Western countries so that those who those who oppose the West could be arrested. On an earlier occasion, the govt said at least 10 MPs were accepted to be arrested by the FCID over allegations of fraud and corruption. He said the man who committed the biggest financial fraud more..

Venture Engine raises US$5mn for Sri Lankan entrepreneurs

May 7 (EN) Venture Engine, a SL angel investor group, said it has raised over five million US dollars in funding for 20 companies with its latest call for proposals ending on May 12. “The Venture Engine program is not just about getting funding,” declared Prajeeth Balasubramaniam, Co-Founder, Blue Ocean Ventures, and a group member. “We create a strong platform for mentoring and networking and deliver a focused approach on building businesses and creating tangible results.” more..

Reclaiming Indian Ocean identity vital for economy: Mangala

May 7 (DM) Sri Lanka should reclassify itself as an Indian Ocean country instead of a South Asian country to secure further foreign direct investments (FDIs), exports, tourism and foreign expertise in the future, according to Minister Mangala Samaraweera. “By and by, we came to be classified as a South Asian country and our own imaginations and those of others turned towards the Indian hinterland. Reclaiming our Indian Ocean identity helps us and others unlock tremendous opportunities for more..

Video: FCID akin to actions in Hitler era: MR

May 7 (DM) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa today said that the mechanism of the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID), is akin to that of the era of Hitler. “The Prime Minister cannot take the role of the IGP and give orders. The PM is answerable to Parliament. The Cabinet Sub-Committee has taken over Police power. The Gazette has taken a different turn to what was intended,” he told journalists more..

Lankan fishermen in Myanmar set free

May 7 (CG) Govt of Sri Lanka has secured the release of 17 Sri Lankan fishermen, as well as their 03 boats which had been detained by the Myanmar authorities for allegedly poaching in the territorial waters of Myanmar in October 2014. The cases filed at the Kyauk Phyu Township Criminal Court of Myanmar against the 17 Sri Lankans were withdrawn by the Departments of Fisheries and Immigration on the directive of President Thein Sein of Myanmar, upon the request of Govt of SL. more..

Govt insists no politics in probe

May 7 (CG) Govt today insisted that the investigations being conducted by the police Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) is not influenced by any politician. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that the Gazette notification issued once the FCID was launched may need some amendments but the probe will go on. “Even the President said that the investigation does not have a political hand,” he said. Senaratne said that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had more..

US Diversity Visa available starting today

May 7 (DM) The entrants for US Diversity Visa (DV) programme could check their visa application status starting today and should retain confirmation receipts until September 30, 2016, the US Department of State said. “Entrants for the Diversity Visa Program can check the status of their applications on website ( Entrants should retain confirmation receipts until Sept 30, 2016,” it said. more..

IUBF wants those who attacked u'grads arrested

May 7 (CT) No one from the authorities who gave the orders to attack undergraduate bhikkhus or the police officers concerned or the Police Anti-Riot Squad personnel involved have been brought to book, the Inter-University Bhikkhu Federation (IUBF) charged. Calling on the govt to release two student activists who have been arrested and remanded till 9 May, to be released immediately, Convener of IUBF Ven. Thenne Gnanananda Thera added that the govt was treating the Arts and Humanities more..

Contradictory statements from SLFP on pro-MR rally

May 7 (AM) Contradictory statements coming from SLFP has raised doubt on its position regarding the pro-Mahinda Rajapaksa rally to be held in Kurunegala on Thursday. A media release from the party stated on Wednesday that the SLFP MPs should adhere to the Central Committee decision and refrain from attending the rally. The release bears the title SLFP Media Spokesman but does not have a name or a signature. The statement said that President Maithripala Sirisena and more..

Basil further remanded till May 20

May 7 (DM) Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa and three other Economic Development Ministry officials were today ordered to be further remanded till May 20 by Kaduwela Magistrate Dhammika Hemapala for allegedly misappropriating millions of Ministry funds without Treasury sanction. At the outset, the Counsel appearing for the suspects filed written submissions seeking seek bail for their clients. more..

Rs 1.1 M spent daily to provide water

May 7 (CT) Govt spends Rs 1.1 million a day to provide water to those who have been displaced and lost access to water sources due to the Uma Oya Project, Chief Minister of Uva Harin Fernando said. The water is being provided in bowsers and the situation will worsen in the coming months, he added. "Luckily there is rain these days; otherwise the situation would have been worse. But, due to the dry season expected in the coming weeks, the situation will take a turn to the worst," more..

Sri Lankan Airlines: Weliamuna inquiry costs Rs 3.5 million

May 7 (CT) First govt-commissioned inquiry into the previous govt’s corruption and malpractices has cost taxpayers Rs 3.5 million, Colombo Telegraph can reveal. The investigation ordered by Minister Arjuna Ranatunga, and carried out by former head of the Transparency International (Sri Lanka chapter) J.C. Weliamuna into Sri Lankan Airlines. The anti-corruption and good governance activist and Lawyer J.C. Weliamuna confirmed that he along with his team comprising of senior lawyers more..

Video: MR family deposited 18 bn USD in foreign banks: Mangala

May 7 (DM) The objective of the demand made by some opposition parties to do away with the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) is something aimed at getting away from frauds, Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. He made this point with regard to a demand made by the delegation led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa when they met President Maithripala Sirisena on Wednesday. more..

Handling The Mahinda Phenomenon

May 8 (NS) Former President Rajapaksa is the only head of state under the current constitution of Sri Lanka who was defeated at a presidential election while in office. He could have remained in office for another two years. All his predecessors left office either by end of two terms or by death. Why does a defeated president still seem interested in centering himself around power? The reason evident might be the very powerful argument and a slogan evoked by the Vasu-Wimal-Bandula-Gammanpila, more..

Editorial: Knotty affairs

May 8 (Island) Never a dull day in Sri Lanka! Thanks to our politicians we are never short of issues; in fact, we have a surfeit of them, day in day out, the latest being Wednesday’s lekgotla between President Maithripala Sirisena and his predecessor cum erstwhile boss, Mahinda Rajapaksa at the parliament complex. The Sirisena-Rajapaksa parley had an anti-climax. Speculation was rife in political circles that there would be fireworks with either of the two leaders or both staging a walk out more..

'19A: A major stepping stone'

May 8 (SO) Architect of National Movement for a Just Society, Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera has remained in the forefront of democratic struggles, often marshalling progressive forces in pursuit of the same. He was involved in the co­ordination of all disparate factions into one organic whole­ to enthrone peoples’ constitutional rights through the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. more..

Is reconciliation relevant any more?

May 8 (NS) The national anthem is allowed to be sung in Tamil, violating the specific provisions laid down by the Constitution. This is being done in the name of reconciliation. The LLRC, too, in the name of reconciliation allowed the national anthem to be sung in Tamil. To avoid a major irritant was the excuse put forward for doing so. By allowing the national anthem to be sung in Tamil, President Sirisena has violated the Constitution for the fifth time, since coming to power. more..