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New parliament to deal with electoral reforms

May 11 (DN) If political parties fail to reach an agreement on electoral reforms within this week, the 20th Amendment will be presented to the new Parliament which will be convened after the Parliamentary election. Crucial discussions took place between representatives of various political parties over the weekend to find a common ground with regard to electoral reforms. President is likely to dissolve Parliament before the end of May more..

Court issues warrant for arrest of Ven. Gnanasara Thera

May 11 (AD) A warrant has been issued for the arrest of BBS General Secretary Ven. Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara Thera after he failed to appear before the court on a case regarding his alleged participation at an unlawful assembly in front of the Bribery Commission. Colombo Magistrate’s Court on April 24 issued notice on 27 persons including ten MPs and Gnanasara Thera to appear before the court on contempt of more..

UPFA to ask President to extend the term of LG bodies

May 11 (AD) The UPFA is to make an appeal in its bid to request the President to further extend the term of the Local Govt (LG) bodies. Issuing a statement, UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha, pointed out the term of LG bodies should be extended, since the Election Department needs more time to hold polls with the new electoral system which is about to be implemented through the 20th Amendment. However, Minister Rajitha Senaratne on Friday said the term of more..

Wilpattu: Environmentalists prostitute with extremists

May 11 (CT) The assault on the innocent Muslim Forgotten People of the Northern Province continues unabated. The media, the JVP and the most popular politician in saffron robes, Battaramulle Seelarathana thero of SIRASA and Janasetha peramuna fame have joined the bandwagon of racism. The Environment Conservation Trust Director Sajeewa Chamikara has confirmed in interviews that these returning Muslim IDPs have not encroached in to Wilpattu National Reserve, more..

Sathyagaraya - Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

Quo Vadis, SLFP?

May 11 (CT) The SLFP, Sri Lanka's second largest party was founded in 1951 after S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, its founding father, split from the then UNP Govt where he had functioned as its Health Minister in Sri Lanka's first Cabinet, formed after the island's first parliamentary elections of 1947. Bandaranaike's then party, the Sinhala Maha Sabha was a coalition partner of the UNP which was elected to power in the 1947 General Election. But after resigning from office in 1951, more..

Shares steady at near 10-week high

May 11 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares ended steady near 10-week high on Monday in thin trade as investors awaited direction on the political front and cues from earnings while foreign investors exited from risky assets for a sixth straight session. The main stock index ended 0.02% up at 7,213.63, at its highest close since March 3. It has gained 4.53 percent since the central bank cut key rates on April 15, while yields on t-bills have fallen 44-57 basis points since then. more..

'Sri Lanka will not promote horizontal discrimination'

May 11 (EN) Sri Lanka will not enact laws or promote policies that discriminate among citizens, Deputy Economic Development Minister Harsha de Silva said. "There is something called horizontal discrimination," de Silva said, speaking at the opening of a Central Bank office in Kilonochchi, a former war torn area,. "What is that? That is when you create, design and implement policy, that affects a certain group of people. more..

MiG deal: Rajapaksas paid US$ 10 Million to a ghost company: Interpol confirmed

May 11 (CT) Interpol Headquarters confirmed that there was no company called Bellimissa Holdings Limited in the United Kingdom. When the MiG deal fell into media spotlight in December 2006, it was highlighted that so-called govt-govt deal involved payment to a mysterious third party, Bellimissa Holdings, UK. Bellimissa was in fact a ghost company that did not exist in any form in the UK. Even London address it had provided to the Defence Ministry was false. more..

Court orders the arrest of Fowzie’s son

May 11 (AM) Colombo Chief Magistrate, Gihan Pilapitiya ordered the Colombo Crimes Division on Monday to arrest UPFA WPC member Nauzer Fowzie and present him before the Court over an incident where he had allegedly threatened a businessman with a firearm. The Magistrate reprimanded the Police for not taking prompt action with regard to this incident which took place three years ago. Police stated that they were unable to proceed as the AG’s Department more..

Gotabaya files FR against FCID

May 11 (AD) Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Monday filed a Fundamental Rights application challenging the legality of establishing the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID). Through the application, Gotabaya has also sought intervention of the Supreme Court to prevent his imminent arrest pending and/or on the conclusion of the several purported investigations by the CID, more..

SL nurse killed in Kuwait over Dh7,000

May 11 (E24|7) An Indian man murdered a Sri Lankan nurse in Kuwait following a rift over a KD500 (Dh7,000) debt, a newspaper in the oil-rich Gulf emirate reported. The unnamed man waited for the 31-year-old nurse to step out of the hospital in the capital Kuwait City and stabbed her twice in the back, 'Al Watan' said. An Arab hospital employee who was entering the hospital rushed to the scene and caught the killer, the paper said, adding that he was handed to the police. more..

Batticaloa also affected by drugs and alcohol

May 11 (CT) Traditional values are eroding due to alcoholism and drug addiction that is now catching on in the Batticaloa District, according to the district's TNA MP P. Ariyanenthiran. He was speaking at an event at Kaluthawalai in Batticaloa on Thursday. The TNA MP further, said that the present Govt before coming to power pledged to solve the humanitarian problems of the people in the North and East whereas the Tamil political prisoners are still behind bars. more..

Docs dismiss National Medicinal Drug Act as hasty piece of legislation

May 11 (Island) National Medicinal Drug Regulatory Act approved in a hurry lacked many vital action plans and was vague, charged the All Ceylon Medical Officers' Association. ACMOA General Secretary Dr. Jayantha Bandara said the new Act was neither transparent nor duly drafted by medical professionals and it did not have accurate solutions to the vital pharmaceutical issues. He alleged that the Act did not specify that more..

Tussle over garbage dump - CMC & Kolonnawa UC

May 11 (CT) If the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) had violated a Court order, they should be charged with contempt of Court, said the Mayor of Colombo, A.J.M Muzammil. He vehemently denied the accusations levelled at him by the Kolonnawa Urban Council officials stating that the accusations were false. Chairman of the Kolonnawa UC, D.P. Udayashantha said that the Courts allocated only two acres for the CMC to dump garbage in Meethotamulla, however the CMC had more..

Johnston further remanded till May 25

May 11 (AM) Former Minister Johnston Fernando was further remanded till May 25 by Kurunegala Magistrate a short while ago. He was arrested by police Financial Crimes Investigations Division on May 5 after his arrival at FCID to give a statement on complaints of financial fraud at Lak Sathosa. Fernando had allegedly taken goods from Lak Sathosa without making payments. He was produced before the Colombo Magistrate and was remanded until May 6. more..

Sajin remanded till May 20

May 11 (DM) UPFA MP Sajin de Vass Gunawardana was remanded till May 20 when the CID produced him in the Fort Magistrate’s Court today on charges of having misused several vehicles belonging to the Presidential Secretariat. Police Spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said Mr. Gunawardana was arrested after the CID summoned him to record a statement on the misuse of these vehicles. more..

India’s GST will make business easier, Sri Lankan investors told

May 11 (EN) India’s Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill, approved by the lower house of parliament last week, will make it easier to do business there, a senior Indian diplomat told Sri Lankan investors. GST has been hailed as game-changing reform that will turn India into a single big, seamless market and reduce transaction costs for business. It will harmonise the plethora of Indian state and central govt taxes, that SL companies trying to penetrate India’s market had complained about, more..

Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) makes Rs4bn loss in first quarter

May 11 (EN) Sri Lanka’s state-owned oil refiner, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) made a four-billion rupee loss in the first three months of 2015 even though earnings before excise duties were paid amounted to 17 billion rupees. Minister Champika Ranawaka said the sharp cut in fuel prices soon after the new govt was formed in January had helped reduce costs for both business and the public. “The fuel price reduction stimulated the whole economy,” he said. more..

'No fuel price hike, pricing formula coming'

May 11 (EN) Govt said it will maintain current fuel prices despite the upturn in international oil prices but was working towards introducing a pricing formula that would change in tune with global oil price fluctuations. ”The fuel pricing formula is now being worked out and will be put before the cabinet of ministers soon,” Minister Champika Ranawaka said. “But even before introducing the formula we want to ensure we operate more..

Video: Gota at BC to record statement

May 11 (DM) Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa arrived at the Bribery Commission (BC) this morning after he was summoned to record a statement over various allegations levelled against him. Last week, the JVP, had in a complaint to the Commission, said Gotabaya Rajapaksa was involved in a case of financial misappropriation with regard to the 2013 Deyata Kirula Exhibition. Meanwhile, the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) had informed more..

Jayalalithaa's acquittal: Sri Lankan Tamils welcome return of strong leader

May 11 (ENS) Sri Lankan Tamils welcome the acquittal of AIADMK Supremo Jayalalithaa in the disproportionate assets case, and are looking forward to her taking charge as TN’s Chief Minister again. “Lankan Tamils need a strong leader to be at the helm in Tamil Nadu. While Jayalalithaa was away from office, there was no one with authority in TN with whom we could talk about our problems. With a strong leader back on the saddle in Chennai, even the knotty fishermen’s issue more..

Govt says electoral reforms should pave way for more women in parliament

May 11 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's new electoral reforms should make space for more women representation in parliament, Deputy Minister Ajith Perera said. Following the election of President Maithripala Sirisena, govt has pledged to implement elections reforms with a new amendment to the constitution. The composition of the new parliament and how it should be elected is a hot topic of debate in political circles. more..

Lankaputhra Bank gave loans on bogus collateral: Chairman

May 11 (EN) Sri Lanka's Lankaputhra Development Bank, which now had 1.5 billion rupees of non-performing loans, had given credit on forged deeds and counterfeit gems, an official said. According to the finance ministry data, Lankaputhra Development Bank had 1,146 million rupees of bad loans and a 46.7 percent non-performing loan ratio. Lasantha Gunewardene, appointed Chairman of Lankaputhra Bank in February 2015, said bad loans were now at 1.5 billion rupees. more..

India v. China in Sri Lanka: Lessons for rising powers

May 11 (TD) John Kerry’s visit to Sri Lanka, the first by a U.S. Secretary of State in 11 years, recognizes country’s geopolitical importance. It also highlights the outcome of the recent tussle over the island state by two emerging global powers. This is a contest in which India has now gained the upper hand over China, offering important lessons for rising powers as they begin a Great Game in Asia. Sri Lanka sits at the heart of the Indian Ocean, adjacent to major shipping routes, more..

Ravi challenges MR for public debate

May 11 (DM) Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake today challenged former president Mahinda Rajapaksa who was also the former finance minister to a public debate on a statement made by Mr. Rajapaksa that the Lankaputhra Bank had lent funds to various people named in a list submitted by Mr. Karunanayake. Mr. Karunanayake rejected this allegation and told journalists that he was ready to prove that more..

Sri Lanka's exports up 5.8% in February

May 11 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's earnings from exports increased by 5.8%, year-on-year, to US$ 891 million in Feb 2015, led by industrial product exports, particularly textiles and garments. Latest data also showed trade deficit widened by 10.4% to US$ 638 million for February. Earnings from industrial exports, which represent about 77% of total exports, improved mainly due to an increase in exports of textiles and garments followed by petroleum products, gems, diamonds and jewelry. more..

Crucial talks held on electoral reforms

May 11 (CG) President Maithripala Sirisena met political party leaders and representatives today for crucial talks to break the deadlock over proposed electoral reforms. The cabinet paper on the proposed electoral reforms was discussed at today’s meeting which was also attended by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. President Sirisena has told the party leaders that any changes to the proposals already on the table, can be produced before 12 noon on May 13 to Presidential Secretariat. more..

'Hold general election under present system'

May 11 (DM) JHU General Secretary and Minister Champika Ranawaka today objected to the upcoming general election being conducted under the current Proportional Representation (PR) System. Last week President Maithripala Sirisena had informed the smaller parties that the elections would be held under the present system with the proposed electoral reforms if enacted coming into force for future elections only. more..

CEPA with India: Opportunity or threat to Sri Lankan professionals?

May 12 (CT) Talk of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with India is heard again louder than a whisper in both professional and business circles. When it surfaced last time, the local professionals in the services sector joined hands with the local businessmen in the manufacturing sector in voicing their concern. It was mentioned during all discussions that an all powerful Cabinet Minister and an all powerful Ministry Secretary were supporting signing to the hilt. more..

Waging lawfare against the Rajapaksa camp: Beware of blowback

May 12 (CT) Don’t you just hate it when people who should know better make huge mistakes which have been made before with disastrous consequences for all concerned– in other words, huge avoidable mistakes? Take this Govt for instance. It has crossed a line which far stronger and more legitimate i.e. popularly elected, predecessors did not. Its predecessors did a few things of the same sort with disastrous consequences, but this govt is venturing far beyond. more..

Pensions Dept sets up one-stop service centre

May 12 (SO) Department of Pensions which was once unpopular due to officials being lethargic and corrupt has been transformed into an orderly and efficient institution according to pension applicants who turned up at the Department last week. Applicants and those with various problems regarding pensions were welcomed in a friendly manner and their work attended to speedily. There were no queues and loads of paperwork as more..

An open letter to Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva

May 12 (GV) My dear Honorable Sir, I thought of writing to you, due to the upcoming general election and the choices that face the SLFP in that context. My interest stems from my own personal association with the Party and is also motivated by my late father having been a founding member and Central Committee member of the SLFP in the 1950s, which fact seem to have been known to President Sirisena, who as the then General Secretary called and condoled with me on his demise last year. more..

Five years ago, today: Evicted and homeless

May 12 (GV) On 8th May 2010, the UDA demolished 20 homes that were occupied by 33 families on Mews Street in Colombo 2. Families were informed verbally a month prior to the demolition that they will have to vacate their homes and served the same in writing only 3 days prior to the demolition. Contrary to the UDA’s claims at that time, the residents of Mews Street were not illegal occupants of state land but had deeds to the land but at no point was the Land Acquisition Act followed. more..

'Structural reforms essential'

May 12 (CT) "The fiscal policy by the way of adjusting revenue and expenditure, the monetary policy by the way of adjusting the interest rate and the exchange rate, some combination of these instruments will have to be used to address the overheating in the economy towards the latter half of 2015." "The real problem is low income because productivity is low in agriculture, the public Sector and State owned enterprises." more..

Implications of economic growth performance in 2014

May 12 (ST) Last year’s economic growth of 7.4 per cent, as disclosed in the Central Bank Annual Report for 2014, is a continuation of the economic growth trend averaging 7.4 per cent in the last five years (2010 to 2014). It is also a continuation of the pattern of development in recent years. The sources of growth displayed weaknesses and serious fundamental fiscal and trade imbalances. Foreign indebtedness continued to increase to reach a new high. more..

Domestic solutions for domestic problems: Lessons from John Kerry’s visit

May 12 (SL) Arrival of US Secretary of State John Kerry ignited mixed reactions from the Sri Lankan public. President Maithripala Sirisena echoed his supporters’ sentiments when he considered this visit as one that will revive Sri Lanka’s development by re-establishing ties between the US and Sri Lanka. However, those on the opposite spectrum of politics were wary of his visit, perceiving it as a western or foreign threat aimed at destroying the national sovereignty of the nation. more..

'Issues of Tamil people still same'

May 12 (CT) Ceylon Today had an opportunity of buttonholing Parliamentarian Mavai Senathirajah who is Leader of the ITAK. Chatting with him we sought his opinion on various newsworthy issues. MP Mavai Senathirajah said he understands and accepts the justification behind the armed struggles carried out by the LTTE, yet he pointed out that he couldn't condone the atrocious mistakes of the LTTE at the same time. more..

Editorial: Bashing & nursing govt JVP way

May 12 (Island) The JVP is demanding that Parliament be dissolved forthwith. Some of the UPFA big guns, it says, are using their parliamentary privileges to disrupt probes conducted by the Commission to Investigate Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) into their corrupt deals. And, the present govt which was formed hurriedly after the Jan. 08 presidential election to implement President Maithripala Sirisena’s 100-day programme is without a popular mandate and, therefore, more..

Winning people’s support will also ensure security

May 12 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena has revoked an agreement with the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka to allocate 800 acres of land for investment projects in Sampur and released the land to be used to resettle people who had been displaced from the area. He had also directed that a navy camp set up there should also be relocated to enable the resettlement of the displaced people. The people were displaced in 2006 when the Sri Lankan military retook the Sampur area, more..