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Kili Maharaja’s illegal grab of state land worth half a billion rupees?

May 8 (CT) Be it Palestine or a prime State land at Colombo Sri Lanka, impossible it should be made to claim ownership for criminals when lands are acquired illegally. Conducting investigations in to the disputed block of land at Bank of Ceylon Mawatha (right opposite WTC), many instances of meticulously planned and illegally occupied State and private lands have come to light and that which resulted in political henchmen and criminals raking in billions in the last 30 years. more..

Sri Lanka's UNP livid, says talks damage Maithri's image

May 8 (EN) The talks with Mahinda Rajapaksa has seriously dented President Sirisena's image as a reformist and put him on a collision course with the UNP which propelled him to power. Top UNP officials said it was outrageous that Sirisena should sit together with his arch rival, ex-president Rajapaksa, to discuss strengthening their SLFP which had done its best to defeat him. It was outrageous, a UNP official said more..

The right to information act: Finally a reality?

May 8 (GV) Access to information is a universal human right; despite that it has never been a part of the constitution in Sri Lanka although attempts have been made throughout the last decade. When President Maithripala Sirisena came to power in January he included the introduction of the Right to Information (RTI) Act in his 100 days programme and according to Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, Executive Director for Centre for Policy Alternatives, govt has agreed on a final version of the Act more..

Land and foreign ownership: A critique

May 8 (FT) With the objective of demystification of the law in relation to ownership and leasing of land by foreigners, UTO EduConsult conducted a program on ‘Foreign Ownership and Leasing of Land by Foreigners – Ideas for Reform’ recently in Colombo. The program focused on highlighting the finer points and impacts of the Act from many dimensions including legal, accounting, taxation et al and ideas for reform of the existing blanket prohibitions to provide flexibility more..

'Sannasgala has expressed social realities in detailed manner'

May 8 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday said that Upul Shantha Sannasgala has expressed social realities in a more detailed and clear manner through his books. He said that his book on Amma gives a vivid experience of rural poverty. “Sannasgala has attempted to express social reality in a more explicit manner without fear or favour to none,” he said. President was delivering the keynote address more..

Breakdown of rule of law in unfathomable scale in MR’s 3rd term attempt

May 8 (CT) It is for the first time the readers are given an opportunity to learn this extra-ordinary moment of history during the run up to the Presidential Election 2015, and about the person who had fought a lone battle against all odds in order to safeguard the sovereign rights of the people. The 18th amendment to the Constitution was initiated by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to remove the two-term restriction, enabling him to contest for a further term. more..

19A & the continuing power-struggle

May 8 (Island) Apart from some suave political maneuvering, President Sirisena was now left with one option; that of addressing the people. For the more he spoke – especially about his desire to renounce power – the more convincingly he was able to expose the uncouth and regressive character of his disgruntled opponents. This, which he finally did, helped him partially to neutralize the threat posed by the Mahinda-group of the UPFA of a possible sabotage of the 19th Amendment. more..

China gets spurned in Sri Lanka

May 8 (BN) To woo the island nation of Sri Lanka, China lent more than $200 million to fund a new airport built by then-President Mahinda Rajapaksa near his hometown. It wasn’t one of the Chinese govt’s better investments. MRIA opened in 2013, but two years later there is only one scheduled daily flight, on Flydubai. In January, just after Rajapaksa’s reelection campaign ended in an upset loss, state-owned SriLankan Airlines more..

Business confidence at a near standstill

May 8 (FT) The May edition of business magazine LMD reports that the LMD-Nielsen Business Confidence Index (BCI) “virtually stalled in April, rising by a sundry two points from the previous month, to register 154”. It adds: “However, the index remains above its 12-month average of 147 and 20 notches higher than a year ago.” Nielsen’s Managing Director Shaheen Cader says, in LMD, that “the BCI has picked up slightly, on the back of good past year business performance”. more..

CB bond scam: Where does the buck stop?

May 8 (Island) On 15th March Mr. Mahendran said that he would go on leave and appointed as Senior Deputy Governor, Chairman of Tender Board which had handled the bond issue at Mr. Mahendran’s behest. This officer is the most junior among Deputy Governors of Central Bank, and his appointment as Senior Deputy Governor at the time of Mr. Mahendran’s temporary departure gave him the right to exercise all the powers and authority of Governor during Mr. Mahendran’s absence. more..

Sri Lanka jumped 11 positions in Networked Readiness Index (NRI)

May 8 (DN) The recently released 2015 edition of the Global Information Technology Report of the World Economic Forum has placed Sri Lanka at 65th position in networked readiness among 143 economies surveyed. Singapore is ranked as the topmost in networked readiness and replaces Finland, which had been number one since 2013. Japan, which climbs an impressive six places, year-on-year basis, more..

Sri Lanka non-oil imports rise with stronger credit, exports up 6.6% in Feb

May 8 (EN) Sri Lanka's exports rose 5.8% to US$ 891.4 million, with apparel exports rising 6% to US$ 419.9 million, and non-oil imports rose sharply, amidst a pick-up in domestic credit, official data show. Apparel exports rose 6% to US$ 419.9 million, petroleum exports rose 19.5% to US$ 35.2 million driven by bunkers but rubber products fell 3.9% to US$ 67.5 million with a fall in rubber tyres shipments. Agricultural exports rose 0.8% with spice exports rising 84% to US$ 30.9 million and more..

Sri Lanka forex reserves rise to US$7.4bn

May 8 (EN) The May edition of business magazine LMD reports that the LMD-Nielsen Business Confidence Index (BCI) “virtually stalled in April, rising by a sundry two points from the previous month, to register 154”. It adds: “However, the index remains above its 12-month average of 147 and 20 notches higher than a year ago.” Nielsen’s Managing Director Shaheen Cader says, in LMD, that “the BCI has picked up slightly, on the back of good past year business performance”. more..

Russia & SL to ink new MoUs for cooperation

May 8 (GDI) Sri Lanka and Russia will enter into several new Agreements and MoU to expand bilateral cooperation in several fields such as energy, trade and commerce, agriculture, education, judiciary and defence. This was discussed when Russian ambassador Alexander A Karchava called on President Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday. Ambassador conveyed President Putin’s best wishes more..

CB sets up regional branch in Kilinochchi

May 8 (Island) The govt has already done substantial work in the areas devastated by the war in the past, but still there is a lot to be done for the region's sustainable social and economic growth, D M Swaminathan, Resettlement, Reconstruction and Hindu Affairs Minister said on Wednesday at the opening ceremony of the Central Bank's Killinochchi Regional Branch. The regional branch of the Central Bank commenced its operations in Ariviyal Nagar, Kilinochchi. more..

SL - Rwanda Business Forum on 28 May

May 8 (CT) Sri Lanka – Rwanda Business Forum, which is organized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, will be held on the 28 May, 2015 with the participation of a high powered business delegation from Rwanda. The event, which is organized in association with the Rwanda Private Sector Federation, the High Commission of Rwanda in India and the Honorary Consulate General of Rwanda in Sri Lanka, is aimed at promoting trade, investment & tourism between two countries. more..

Mayor, Opposition Leader exchange blows

May 8 (DM) A campaign held to protest against corruption at the Sri J'pura Kotte Municipal Council turned sour when two groups led by the Mayor and the Opposition Leader exchanged blows within the council premises this afternoon. Welikada Police had received three separate complaints since 2 pm from the council’s Opposition Leader Sugath Appuhamy of the UNP, a ruling party UPFA Councilor Premalal Athukorala and more..

Eastern Uni student hostel opening on May 9

May 8 (GDI) Deputy Minister Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle said that the student hostel constructed at the Eastern University in Batticaloa will be vested in the students on 9th of this month. She said that out of the 60 hostel facilities being erected for the universities in the country, work on the construction of 30 hostels has now been completed. In addition to the construction work being carried out on 30 hostels, work on another 3 hostels is now being carried out on 30 hostels, more..

Bowlers hand Pakistan A advantage

May 8 (CI) Pakistan A took control of the first unofficial Test in Colombo, claiming three Sri Lanka A scalps in 21 overs, after having posted 401. The visitors resumed on 244 for 5, and captain Fawad Alam drove the innings forward with his 72. He struck up a 67-run seventh-wicket stand with Shehzad Azam, who hit 47 not out, before Tharindu Kaushal had him caught behind. Kaushal was by a distance Sri Lanka A's best bowler with figures of 6 for 117. more..

FCID summons Gotabaya

May 8 (AD) Ada Derana reliably learns that former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been summoned to appear at the Police Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) on May 1. It is also understood that Rajapaksa has been asked to visit the FCID for questioning regarding the controversial MiG deal and a share issuance by Lanka Hospitals. A complaint had been filed recently alleging financial fraud at more..

Piramal Glass pleads for transparent furnace oil price reduction

May 8 (FT) Piramal Glass Ceylon Chairman Vijay Shah reiterated calls for a reduction in the price of furnace oil during a recent visit to Sri Lanka. “As you know, the ceramic and glass industry are highly energy-intensive processes. We have been pleading with the Govt asking for a reduction in the price of furnace oil for a long period of time. I don’t think anyone is really paying any attention to this serious issue. Nothing is being done and if this situation continues, our ability to compete in more..

White by Spa Ceylon recognized as Best Luxury Ayurveda Spa in the world

May 8 (GDI) Spa Ceylon, SL’s premier spa and lifestyle brand recently won an international award in the Best Luxury Ayurveda Spa category at the prestigious World Luxury Spa Awards. Highly acclaimed international award was won for WHITE By Spa Ceylon, which is one of the brand’s signature luxury Ayurveda spas that blends the elements, traditions and rituals of old Ceylon with modern design and aesthetics of contemporary SL, to create a completely unique experience. more..

Govt eyes doubled funds for development

May 8 (FT) Minister Ravi Karunanayake stated that the ADB was prepared to double its annual funding to Sri Lanka up to an estimated $ 1.2 billion in a bid to support the new Govt’s development agenda. He emphasised that the proposed line of credit was being granted to Sri Lanka based on independent reviews of the national economy carried out by ADB and not, he stressed, as a result of any appeals or requests more..

Asgiriya Nayaka Thera to be elected today

May 8 (Island) The election of a new Mahanayake Thera of the Asgiriya Chapter of the Siyam Maha Nikaya takes place today. The new Mahanayake Thera will be the successor to the Most Venerable Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Thero, who passed away a month ago. The 18-member the Supreme Council of the Sangha (Karaka Sangha Sabha) will meet today to hold the election at the Poya Ge of the Asgiriya Maha Vihare with Most Ven. Galagama Attadassi Anunayaka Thera presiding.

Nawaloka College inks transfer deal with California State University Monterey Bay

May 8 (DN) Nawaloka College of Higher Studies (NCHS) and Swinburne University of Technology (SUT) and one of the most popular universities in the USA, California State University Monterey Bay inked a partnership embarking on transfer programs for students in Sri Lanka. Enabling Sri Lankan students for the very first time to embark on a 2+2 university program in Business and IT degrees from this university which is accredited by the Western Association of Schools & Colleges, more..

AG’s advice sought in alleged abduction of underage girl by Minister’s son

May 8 (Island) National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) said that it was seeking the advice of the Attorney General on how to proceed with further investigations into the alleged abduction of an underage girl, Dinithi Aloka by Eksath Senaratne, son of Minister Rajitha Senaratne early last year. Chairperson of the NCPA said that the girl’s parents had lodged a complaint with the NCPA on March 21 that Minister’s second son more..

Video: Mahela welcomes Sussex opportunity

May 8 (BBC) Mahela Jayawardene tells BBC South Today that playing for Sussex in the T20 Blast is "a great opportunity". The 37-year-old batsman, who retired from all forms of international cricket following the World Cup, will be with the Hove-based side for the first seven matches of the tournament. Jayawardene played 149 Tests, 448 one-day internationals and 55 T20 internationals for Sri Lanka and scored more than 11,000 runs in both Test matches and ODIs. more..

'Mahinda threatened to walk out of talks'

May 8 (ENS) President Sirisena and former President Rajapaksa, who met here on Wednesday to iron out differences between them, are unlikely to meet again because the differences are too wide to be bridged, an informed source in the Sirisena camp said. "At one point, when Rajapaksa threatened to walk out of the talks, Sirisena said he could walk out if he wanted to", source said. "Sirisena's going for the talks has created a very bad impression about him. Further talks will not take place," more..

'More than 50 UPFA MPs will attend today’s pro-Mahinda rally in Kurunegala'

May 8 (Island) The govt was trying to sabotage the UPFA dissidents’ Kurunegala rally to press for naming former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the UPFA prime ministerial candidate more than 50 SLFP MPs would attend today’s event, NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa said yesterday. Weerawansa said that no one could stop their rallies by arresting former Ministers supporting President Rajapaksa’s return to active politics. more..

CIABOC protest: MPs, monks summoned for contempt of court

May 8 (Island) Several prominent monks and senior UPFA MPs have been summoned by the Colombo Chief Magistrate on charges of contempt of court for participating in a demonstration in violation of a court imposed ban. Former ruling party MPs Bandula Gunewardena, Dulles Alahapperuma, Gamini Lokuge, Jayantha Ketagoda and Sarath Weerasekera, who led the protests when ex-Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was summoned before the Commission recently, more..

US working with Sri Lanka to oppose intimidation to assert territorial claims

May 8 (DM) United States said that it was working with Sri Lanka to oppose intimidation or the use of force to assert territorial or maritime claims in the Indian Ocean. "US Secretary of State John Kerry had talked about U.S. leadership on maritime security in the Indian Ocean, in association with our friends and allies across the region. And the US and Sri Lanka are working together to oppose intimidation or the use of force to assert territorial or maritime claims. more..

Eastern Province governor refutes criticism of resettlement of displaced people

May 8 (Hindu) Austin Fernando, Governor of Eastern Province, has strongly refuted criticism made in certain quarters about the Colombo’s decision to resettle IDPs, mostly Tamils, in Sampur town. According to Mr. Fernando, critics of the govt sought to portray the move as one being carried out at the behest of Indian govt or as sell out to the LTTE or politically motivated. Of 1,272 IDP families, 447 families were resettled, more..

Electoral reforms: What about women?

May 8 (DM) Electoral reforms have become the hottest topic in debate at present. Despite the various promises the good governance regime has granted or is willing to, there are certain shortcomings in this new initiative. Women’s rights have been an issue that has needed consistent attention from those in power. Although many women’s rights activists and organizations worked in favour of the good governance concept with some new hope, a question remains as to whether more..

From the unknown, a statesman for Sri Lanka

May 8 (DM) “Blessed is the nation which in its moment of greatest challenge and peril can produce a moral and intellectual leadership that has the vision and the courage to meet and overcome both.” These prophetic lines were penned in the 1980s by the then Lanka Guardian Editor Mervyn de Silva, widely seen as one of the doyens of journalism in Sri Lanka. It all began on January 8, when people from all corners of Sri Lanka yearning for a palpable change in governance elected more..

Rural North Schools face uphill task to re-establish themselves

May 8 (ST) Educational activities in parts of Valikamam, Jaffna, resuming after the end of the conflict, is picking up, but more facilities and encouragement for the students to return to school are needed, reveals a survey. Naguleswara Mahavidyalayam in Keerimalai (Naguleswaram), the popular tourist attraction in the north, reopened in 2012, after being abandoned in 1990. The school which is 50-years-old more..

Sword attack grips Jaffna

May 8 (SL) Three Jaffna University students, Muralitharan, Rajeepan and Jepradharshan, were hospitalised last week with severe injuries after they were attacked with sharp objects. Fellow students protested last week demanding justice for fellow students who were targeted to the sword attack and also demanded the release of the two students arrested along with a journalist last week. On the 25th, 9 students were attacked more..

Sri Lanka ranked 63rd in Tourism Index

May 8 (AD) According to the World Economic Forum’s index of most tourist-friendly countries Sri Lanka has been ranked 63rd out of 141 countries. Ahead of the Sri Lanka on the index were Malaysia(25)m Indonesia (50) and India (52). Based on the report, Sri Lanka ranked well in terms of Prioritization of Travel and Tourism (30), and Natural Resources (35). However, Sri Lanka scored poorly when it came to Environmental Sustainability, more..

'Only a natural disaster in Australia will allow Gunaratnam to gain political rights in SL'

May 8 (AM) Frontline Socialist Party Politburo Member Duminda Nagamuwa stated that according to the govt's logic, Kumar Gunaratnam could return to the country legally only if there is a natural disaster in Australia. Nagamuwa reminded that despite the new govt's invitation, no one who left the country for political reasons during the presidency of Rajapaksa returned to the country. New govt was also not committed in assuring their return, more..

PM to CoL committee: Don’t increase fuel prices

May 8 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has instructed the committee on the cost of living not to increase the price of fuel though the price of crude oil was rapidly increasing in the world market. The price of crude oil is increasing and the CPC had informed the treasury that it had to pay a high price to purchase it. Having considered the situation, PM had asked the cost of living committee not to place the burden on the masses. more..

Ranil Jayawardena becomes UK MP

May 8 (DM) Ranil Jayawardena of Sri Lankan origin romped to victory in North East Hampshire constituency, taking a near-30,000 vote majority over the Liberal Democrats, the Get Hampshire said. Conservative candidate Mr. Jayawardena will take the reins from James Arbuthnot, who bowed out after nearly 30 years as MP for North East Hampshire. During Thursday's vote, Mr Jayawardena took 35,573 votes in total, more..