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Editorial: Harpoon whales

May 9 (Island) We thought Minister Mangala Samaraweera made a huge mistake when he claimed that the Rajapaksas had stashed away in offshore accounts funds to the tune of USD 18 billion. We doubted his claim not because we believed that our rulers, both past and present, were paragons of virtue and would not line their pockets at the expense of the country; we thought the amount Samaraweera mentioned was too big to be true and it should be rupees and not dollars. more..

The begging bowl of power politics

May 9 (Island) The begging bowl is what's least associated with power politics. The sword, the gun, white vans, and all that wealth provides are much closer to it. Yet, the meeting between current President Sirisena and the ousted president Rajapaksa earlier this week saw much focus on this utensil of the powerless. There is much being said today by the PR drummers of Hambantota strategy that Mahinda Rajapaksa remains unquestionably the most popular politicians among the Sinhalese today. more..

Sri Lanka not planning to hike fuel prices

May 9 (EN) Sri Lanka is not planning to raise fuel prices, despite an uptick in crude, and state airlines and other agencies are also 20 billion rupees in arrears to Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, the energy ministry said. Sri Lanka does not have an automatic price formula, or a free market in fuel and pricing continues to be driven by political and state intervention generating balance of payments crises. In the last few days both India and Vietnam, where more..

Politics can't drive business: Eran

May 9 (CT) Sri Lanka's business environment is driven by politics, and this needs to change regardless of the people who sit in govt in the future, said Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne. He made these remarks during his keynote speech at the inauguration of Postgraduate Institute of Management Alumni (PIMA) Business Club on Wednesday. "If business is to flourish," said the former National Development Bank (NDB) CEO, "among the major reforms we need is a reform of the public sector," more..

Tamil lunatic fringe anti-Muslim racism

May 9 (Island) I am going to write this concluding part of my article partly in notation form, for brevity because many newspaper readers are impatient with articles that extend into several parts. My focus in this part is on the reasons why the Tamil attacks on me should be regarded as racist. I will begin by setting out facts, most of which point unambiguously to racism. 1) They were concerted attacks, not random. They did not begin with my first article but after some weeks. more..

SLC integrity at stake

May 9 (DM) Shocking evidence has emerged to reveal that one of the individuals entrusted to clean up Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) in the recently appointed cricket interim committee has himself been previously flagged by the ICC for a corruption related matter. Former Test cricketer Jayananda Warnaweera, who served in the previous SLC administration’s executive committee was surprisingly retained by Sports Minister Navin Dissanayake when more..

Auditors may be compelled to report financial irregularities

May 9 (EN) Sri Lankan auditors may be asked to report any irregularities they find when auditing financial statements of listed companies under new regulations that are being considered, the head of the capital markets watchdog said. It was important that auditors execute their duties with due diligence, Thilak Karunaratne, Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission said. “We are exploring the possibility of placing a legal duty on audit firms carrying out more..

Kusal, Gunaratne revive Sri Lanka A

May 9 (CI) Kusal Perera's outstanding limited-overs form continued into the four-dayers against Pakistan A, as he hit an unbeaten 119 from 140 balls to help rescue the hosts on a curtailed third day in Colombo. Sri Lanka had been 115 for 5 after Pakistan A hit 401, but Perera combined with Asela Gunaratne to put on an 198-run partnership that remained unbroken at stumps. Perera had had a mediocre domestic season, but has now revived his game ahead of a busy home season for the national side. more..

Something has begun

May 9 (Hindu) Sri Lanka’s new leader Maithripala Sirisena won an election against all odds. He now seems determined to unite majority Sinhalese and minority Tamils, who have known decades of ethnic tension and war. Many promises, which he was to honour in the first 100 days, were made during the presidential campaign. That deadline passed with most promises falling by the wayside — it isn’t easy being a minority govt — but there was delivery on more..

CID told to arrest suspects who maligned National Flag

May 9 (DM) Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya today ordered the CID to arrest the suspects and and produce them in court on July 13 on charges of having maligned the National Flag by displaying a distorted version during a protest opposite the Bribery Commission on April 20. Cinnamon Gardens Police in a report filed in Court requested that the investigations be handed over to the CID. The Magistrate acceding to the request directed the CID to take over the investigations more..

Return of Sampur lands ends decade-long Tamil struggle

May 9 (ENS) Sri Lankan govt’s decision to return to the original Tamil owners, 1055 acres of agricultural lands at Sampur in the Eastern Province, ends a decade-long Tamil struggle to get back lands seized by the Lankan armed forces during Eelam War IV. “The 2000 ousted families of Sampur have been living in refugee camps since 2006. About three years ago, the govt had stopped giving dry rations to them to force them to leave the camps and stop entertaining hopes of getting back their lands. more..

Pakistan donates fully equipped IT lab to a Colombo school

May 9 (GDI) Govt of Pakistan has donated a fully equipped IT Lab which comprises of 8 computers, related equipment and furniture to Sri Saddarmodaya Maha Vidyala in Colombo 5, through its High Commission in Sri Lanka. Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan, Dr. Sarfraz Sipra inaugurated the IT Lab along with Minister A.H.M. Fowzie and former Minister Tissa Vitharana. Acting High commissioner emphasized the importance of collaboration between more..

Gammanpila has questions for the police

May 9 (CT) Leader of the PHU, Udaya Gammanpila stated that Police are acting with double standards and were biased in their treatment of anti govt factions, adding that Western Provincial Councillor of the JHU Nishantha Warnasinghe and Convener of the Joint Trade Union Centre, Wasantha Samarasinghe also protested outside the Bribery Commission but no action was taken against them. However when pro-Mahinda elements decided to protest, a Court Order was obtained to prevent that. more..

Bangladeshi human smugglers escape in Colombo

May 9 (CT) A group of bogus employment agents in Bangladesh are engaged in the business of bringing Bangladeshi nationals to Sri Lanka after collecting a fee of US dollars 3000 from each and promising to send them to Europe via Latin American countries, the Intelligence and Investigation Unit of the Immigration and Emigration Department has uncovered. 16 Bangladeshi nationals brought to SL without visas were arrested by the Intelligence and Investigation Unit more..

‘Govt initiatives prompt three-fold increase in ADB funds to Sri Lanka’

May 9 (Island) The remarkable initiatives adopted by the new Lankan govt, with a key focus on good governance, had prompted the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to increase its funds-three fold to Sri Lanka, Finance Minister Ravi Kurunanayake said. The minister who returned to the island on Thursday after attending to the ADB annual conference said the usual package is between USD 350 and USD 400. However, considering Sri Lanka’s steady progress, more..

First nab thieves at home: Susil

May 9 (DN) "We are not against nabbing thieves, but first nab thieves at home for whom the control of state finances have been handed over," UPFA MP Susil Premajayantha said. He was participating at the inauguration of a three day residential workshop for women public representatives in local govt institutional level organised by the SLFP Women Front at the SLIDA. He accused that the govt was trying to cover up the misdeeds of the Central Bank Governor with false reports, more..

Galle Mayor loses position

May 9 (DN) Methsiri de Silva lost his position as the Mayor of Galle as the Court of Appeal annulled the Galle High Court's decision to invalidate the gazette notification issued to remove him from the position. The gazette notification was issued by Chief Minister of Southern Province Shan Wijayalal de Silva on Jan 23, 2013. The Mayor subsequently filed a motion with the Galle High Court challenging his removal and sought an order of Certiorari and Mandamus making more..

UPFA MPs to crossover to Govt?

May 9 (CT) UPFA MPs from Kurunegala, Puttalam, Gampaha, Matara, Ratnapura and Digamadulla are strongly tipped to cross over to the UNP, according to informed govt sources, to seek re-election to Parliament at the next general election as candidates of the UNP. A group of Opposition MPs will cross over to the ruling party prior to parliament being dissolved in order to strengthen PM Ranil Wickremesinghe's hands in Parliament, the sources said. more..

North to incentivize dairy production

May 9 (NS) Only one fourth of approximately 40,000 dairy farms in the North produce milk for commercial purposes over the past five years, producing approximately 70,000 liters of milk, according to the Northern Provincial Department for Animal Production and Health. Provincial Director of the Department, Dr. S. Vaseegaran stated that the govt was focusing on the remaining 30,000 farms in order to improve their productivity and also the quality of their cattle. more..

Museum, unique software and 95th WiFi zone launched

May 9 (DN) Steps have been taken to introduce a mobile software application for the first time in Sri Lanka to enable viewing exhibits in a museum and to have a wide knowledge about them. An ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) release stated that this mobile software called 'Sri Lankan Museum' will be introduced to view exhibits at the Magampura Ruhunu Heritage Museum. The museum was opened by President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday. The ICTA release added that a museum viewer more..

Warrant on Gnanasara Thera

May 9 (CT) Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya issued a warrant for the arrest of General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena organization Venerable Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera yesterday (8), who was not present in Court despite a Court Order being issued for his presence in Court for hearings in connection with violation of a Court Order by participating in a protest demonstration opposite the Bribery Commission offices in Colombo. more..

CA grants interim relief to expelled Democratic Party PC members

May 9 (Island) The Court of Appeal granted interim relief to three provincial council members of the Democratic Party, who had been expelled from the party by letters dated March 10, 2015, signed by party secretary Ananda Manawadu, for having attended media discussions of other political parties, without obtaining the permission of the Democratic Party. The respondents are restrained from taking any further steps in respect of this purported expulsion from the party more..

Protest outside BC: Suspects get bail

May 9 (DM) Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya today granted bail to 27 suspects including ten MPs who were produced in Court for contempt of court. They were identified as those who took part in a demonstration outside the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption on April 20 when former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa arrived to record a statement. The suspects who were released on bail were: Ven. Muruthettuve Ananda Thera, more..

BJP leaders discuss Tamils issue with Sri Lankan ministers

May 9 (TOI) A BJP team from Tamil Nadu on a Track II diplomatic mission has urged the Sri Lankan govt to expedite democratic reforms under the 13th amendment to ensure devolution of powers to Tamil provinces and grant of equal rights to Tamils. "The issue of the 13th amendment was discussed with Lankan ministers Rajitha Senaratne and D M Swaminathan," BJP national executive member L Ganesan said on his return from Colombo on Thursday. more..

Feroza UNP’s new Colombo Organizer

May 9 (CT) The UNP Working Committee has appointed Feroza Muzammil as the Colombo District Organizer for 2015. She will become the first Muslim woman to be appointed as a District Organizer in the history of the UNP. Ms Muzammil speaking to Ceylon Today said "I am happy to have received this opportunity to work for the people of the Colombo District. I have always been involved in social service as the head of the Kantha Saviya and I can now help the people more." more..

Sri Lanka proposes tie-up with Kerala in food and civil supplies areas

May 9 (ENS) Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera has proposed an action plan for collaboration between SL and Kerala in the area of food and civil supplies. Plan will cover student exchange programmes, training modules for govt officials on both sides, investment promotion and other areas such as food preservation, Perera told reporters after holding discussions with Food Minister Anoop Jacob. Perera said that he would submit a proposal to the Cabinet on his return. more..

Mahinda vows to come on UPFA stage shortly: 55 UPFA MPs join mammoth rally

May 9 (Island) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said, in a statement, that he would be back on the SLFP led UPFA stage soon and the date would be decided by the people. In his message read out at a mammoth rally at the Welagedara grounds, Kurunegala Rajapaksa apologised to the people there for not attending the rally in the Kurunegala District in which he got 555,086 votes at the January’s presidential election. more..

Road safety; a sacred responsibility

May 9 (DM) In a shocking report that should give all countries a red-light signal, the United Nations in a report to mark Global Road Safety week from May 4 to 10 said around 186,300 children under 18 years died from road traffic crashes annually. According to the staggering figures compiled by the UN-affiliated World Health Organisation, the rates of road traffic death are three times higher in developing countries than in developed countries. more..

19A: Without separation of powers, it is tyranny

May 9 (DM) The enactment of constitutional amendments in rapid succession could mean either the constitution is woefully incomplete or politicians are manipulating it to achieve personal or political agendas. In a society like the United States, amendments add strength to democracy and shut loopholes for the abuse of power. But in Sri Lanka, the history of constitutional amendments reeks of political skullduggery and deception. Of the 19 amendments made to the 1978 Constitution more..

Military defeat of LTTE and demise of Prabhakaran in May 2009

May 9 (DBS) The month of May is significant in the history of the Tamil secessionist armed struggle in Sri Lanka. It was on May 5th 1976 that a section of militant Sri Lankan Tamil youths re-organized themselves into an organization called the LTTE which had the establishment of a separate Tamil state on the Island through armed struggle as its fundamental objective. It was on May 14th 1976 that the chief political configuration of the SL Tamils more..

Still searching for answers

May 9 (SL) Even after many years of search, families of those who are missing, especially during the last phase of the war, have not given up their search in hope to find their kith and kin. Most of them carry evidence of as to how their family members went missing and as to who abducted them or arrested them. There are also women who have proof to say some of those reported missing are still alive and are detained either in prisons or camps which they are eager to find out. more..

MPs not interested in Code of Conduct

May 9 (NS) The Code of Conduct for all representatives of the people, as promised by the 100 Day Program, was continuing to be delayed as most MPs were not interested in it, MP, Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha said. Speaking to The Nation, Prof. Wijesinha said not many were interested in the Code of Conduct, adding that, “Anura Kumara Dissanayake submitted a draft two months ago but PM Ranil Wickremesinghe hasn’t looked at it since.” - more..

‘We have more MPs than the UNP’

May 9 (Island) 55 MPs participated in the Bring Back Mahinda rally at the Welagedara stadium in Kurunegala yesterday. It was the fourth rally organised by the MEP, NFF, DLF and PHU demanding former President Mahinda Rajapaksa be named as the UPFA’s Prime Ministerial candidate at the next general election. Police had to close the Kurunegala – Dambulla road at the beginning of the rally due to the massive crowd. more..

Video: UPFA MPs to go to Geneva over harassment

May 9 (DM) UPFA parliamentarian Bandula Gunawardane today said they would lodge a complaint with the Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva within next two weeks against the harassment faced by certain UPFA MPs due to the growing influence of the ‘state police’ concept. MP Gunawardane said it was important to inform the international community about Ranil Wickremesinghe’s ‘police government’. more..

Lankan Catholic Bishops call for int’l action to stop killing of Christians

May 9 (Island) The Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Sri Lanka (CBCSL) has urged the international community to take tangible measures to stop on-going wave of killing of Christians. The following is the full text of the statement issued by the Catholic leadership: "The Catholic Bishops’ conference of Sri Lanka is deeply concerned about the atrocious killings of the large numbers of Christian in certain parts of the world. more..

Mangala denies existence of secret detention centres

May 9 (Island) Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has denied the existence of secret detention camps in Sri Lanka. He said: "Last week, I had an opportunity to meet a group of mothers still looking for their missing children. The issue of secret detention camps came up and assured them such facilities do not exist. I assured them of a thorough inquiry in case they could reveal secret detention camps." more..

Dewasiri responds to Vasu

May 9 (DM) Responding to DLF leader Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri said that Mr. Nanayakkara’s assessment that the May Day attack would have been expected implies that he too expected his supporters to react in a violent manner to opposing views. “I don’t know how he knows what my intentions of attending the rally were, but if he is saying I should have expected the attack then what he is indirectly saying is that he is aware of the forces that he is mobilizing, more..

Journalists in Sri Lanka most vulnerable: Report

May 9 (AD) Journalists in Sri Lanka are among the most vulnerable in the South Asia, because attackers generally go scot-free, says a report of the International Federation of Journalists. “The 2014 Impunity Index, published by the Committee to Protect Journalists, had revealed that Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India as the worst offenders on impunity in the region. The situation, unfortunately, remains much the same,” more..

Video: No-confidence motion against Ravi K next week: Bandula

May 9 (DM) The no-confidence motion against Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake was being finalized and would be submitted in parliament by next week, UPFA MP Bandula Gunawardane said. He said more than 90 MPs have already signed the motion and added that it was being finalized successfully. He said several charges were made in the motion to which includes additions such as the financial transactions of more..

Corruption and National Security

May 10 (SO) The country's military came under mention on two unrelated occasions last week. One, in the incident involving an armed forces trooper of the former President's special bodyguard who was detected on the periphery of the personal security ring around President Maithripala Sirisena at a rural public event in the deep South recently. An inquiry is currently under way to learn why this military officer, armed with a pistol, had been present at that location. more..