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Major General Jagath Dias appointed new Chief of Staff

May 15 (SLA) Major General Jagath Dias has been appointed as the new Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Army. He is the 46th Chief of Staff in the Army. Major General Jagath Dias is currently serving as the Commander, Security Force - Mullaittivu. He was enlisted to the Army on 11 August 1980 and commissioned to the 1 Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment as a 2 Lieutenant on 27 Febr 1982. Afterwards he received an Inter Regimental more..

Grero faults decision to make O/L Math pass compulsory for A/L

May 15 (FT) MP Mohan Lal Grero said that he disagreed with a decision to make a pass in O/L Mathematics necessary for students to qualify to enter the GCE A/L, saying that it was not in keeping with modern educational psychology. He made these comments at the inauguration of the fifth phase of the Diploma Program on Early Childhood Development, which is conducted by Lyceum International School. He added that it was only 11% of students who excelled in mathematics. more..

Housing assistance for War Heroes

May 15 (MoD) A group of War Heroes received housing loans during a ceremony held at the Ministry today (14). The ceremony to hand over interest free housing loans to War Heroes was graced by the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Mr. BMUD Basnayake. Loans are provided to a maximum amount of Rs. 300,000.00 for deserving War Hero families to complete their partly built houses. During today's ceremony loans were provided under the 21st phase of the more..

Basil to be indicted in two weeks

May 15 (DN) Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa will be served indictment before Colombo High Court by the end of this month, AG's Department sources said. They also added that Rajapaksa and other suspects of the case will be served indictment under offences against the public property Act. Minister Basil Rajapaksa, former Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayatilaka, former Director General of Divi neguma Dept, R.R.K. Ranawaka and more..

'Israel to strengthen economic ties with SL'

May 15 (DN) Israel was looking at strengthening economic ties with Lanka, said Ambassador of Israel to Sri Lanka, Daniel Carmon. Speaking at the Israel's 67th National Day Celebrations he said that he has no doubt they will witness the fruits of this partnership in the coming future for the benefit of both countries. "Together with Minister Thalatha Athukorale we discussed the problems of thousands of Sri Lankan nationals already employed in Israel in agriculture and as caregivers. more..

'Governing structures not clearly defined'

May 15 (CT) The country has failed to understand the responsibilities of the different governing structures, such as the Parliament, Provincial Councils and Local Govt bodies, hence their roles have to be clearly defined State Minister of Finance Mahinda Samarasinghe said at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) yesterday. Samarsinghe noted that each political institution has a unique role and responsibility assigned to it, but they were not performed efficiently. more..

Mahanayake Thera displeased by questioning of Diyawadana Nilame

May 15 (DN) The Most Ven. Galagama Aththadassi Mahanayake Thera of the Asgiriya Chapter expressed grave concern about the wide media publicity given to the questioning of Diyawadana Nilame Pradeep Nilanga Dela Bandara who is the lay custodian of the Sri Dalada Maligawa, by the CID and said it would portray him as a fraudulent and corrupt person in the eyes of the public. more..

President Sirisena says goal to end era of political interference

May 15 (ER) President Maithripala Sirisena says his objective is to create an era in which every section is operated freely and independently, without depending on politics. He said a system, in which people have to go after politicians to get their educational, health, social and infrastructural needs fulfilled has been established in the country. ‘The aim of the new Govt is to build a proper machinery to give appropriate solutions for these every need’ he said. more..

Govt pushes for minimum wage for Sri Lankan expats in Saudi

May 15 (DN) The govt expects to begin talks with the Saudi Arabian authorities to negotiate a minimum wage for Sri Lankan expatriate workers in the Kingdom, said Minister Thalatha Athukorala. Saudi Arabia currently employs the highest contingent of Lankan expat workers numbering over 500,000. This is close to one third of the country's total migrant worker population. Minister Athukorala during a discussion with the first secretary of the Saudi Arabian embassy in Sri Lanka has more..

Video: Gotabaya’s FR Petition will face problem: Ranil

May 15 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the Fundamental Rights Petition filed by former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa would face a problem as the Cabinet which is named as the respondent may not be in existence on the next hearing date. He said that the question would arise as a new Cabinet would be in place on the next hearing datein October -- as there would be a new parliament by September. more..

20A: Crack whip to cleanse den of criminals

May 15 (DM) As hectic moves are underway to present the 20th Amendment before the impending general election, it does not appear that political parties and stakeholders have paid adequate attention to preventing the criminalisation of politics – one of the negative offshoots of the existing electoral system. The District-based Proportional Representation system with a preferential voting facility may appear as the most democratic form of election because, in this method, more..

Editorial: Why settle for less?

May 15 (Island) The Women and Media Collective has demanded that women’s representation in political institutions be increased substantially. It wants one electorate in each district allocated to female candidates, inter alia, at future general elections. All right thinking people will endorse its call. In fact, that is something long overdue. But, the question is why they should settle for less. Women account for more than one half of the country’s population. more..

Questions still unanswered

May 15 (SL) Families of those reported missing visited the Welikada and Boosa prisons last week with the hope of obtaining answers to their questions, but it was to no avail. Following a request made by the families of the disappeared, the Minister John Amaratunga said that he instructed authorities at Boosa & Welikada to let the families visit the prisons to confirm if those who claimed to be missing are in custody. more..

'We should decentralise Sri Lanka's cricket'

May 15 (CI) Former Sri Lanka Test batsman Sidath Wettimuny, who, on March 31, was appointed head of the interim committee running Sri Lanka Cricket until elections are held, on what he plans to get round to doing during his caretaker stint. Q: You came in with a mandate to clean cricket up. What are the pressing needs in Sri Lankan cricket at the moment? A: I'm not sure my job is to look at the past. more..

Contradictions: 19 A fate in the balance

May 15 (CT) The Speaker's assent for the official Draft of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, will be delayed. The delay has been caused by discrepancies in some clauses in the final draft of the 19th Amendment and those in the Hansard copy. Leader of the MEP, Dinesh Gunawardena said that a group including ruling and opposition party leaders had held a one and a half hour discussion on 13 May with more..

Wild north gets Govt’s helping hand at last

May 15 (ST) The govt has stretched out a hand of protection of the threatened wildlife across the north, from the ragged ponies of Delft to birds that breed only on a single islet in the Adam’s Bridge chain leading to India. Four new national parks will be set up across the north, the govt announced this week. They will cover environmentally sensitive areas in Chundikulam, Madhu, Delft island and Adam’s Bridge sand more..

UPFA asks whether UNP feared elections

May 15 (Island) UPFA rebels demanded that the govt dissolve Parliament and hold an election as the minority govt’s mandate had expired after 100 days. Prof. G.L. Peiris asked whether the govt feared elections as it was preparing to appoint special commissioners to run local govt bodies scheduled to be dissolved today. He said the UNP led govt didn’t have a people’s mandate, but it claimed that people had voted for President more..

Shashi Weerawansa’s passport and NIC forged: CID informs court

May 15 (AD) CID informed court that diplomatic passport and National Identity Card (NIC) of former Minister Wimal Weerawansa’s wife Shashi Weerawansa, have been forged. Case filed against Mrs Weerawansa, on charges of falsifying documents to obtain a diplomatic passport, was taken up at Colombo Magistrate’s Court today when the CID stated that investigations have confirmed that Passport & NIC have both been forged. more..

Most of returning refugees from India head for Mannar, Vavuniya and Jaffna

May 15 (Island) The UNHCR said that most of the refugees returning through its facilitated repatriation programme had been going to the Northern Districts of Mannar, Vavuniya and Jaffna. A spokesperson for the UNHCR said some of them had returned to Trincomalee and Baticaloa in the Eastern province. There were a few who also returned to Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Ampara, Colombo, Kandy and Puttalam areas. more..

Hybrid auto purchases plunge after tax hike

May 15 (EN) New registrations of hybrid automobile have plunged 46% to 2,296 unit in April 2015 from 4,320 units in January, when the state hiked taxes and arbitrarily inflated the valuations imported used cars by not allowing depreciation. The car registrations started to pick up in the second quarter of 2014 as economic activity picked up following a balance of payments crisis triggered by the Central Bank in 2012. more..

MPs, Ministers Selling their vehicle Permits

May 15 (CT) N. Kodituwakku, Attorney-at-Law and Solicitor (UK) filed a Writ application in the Supreme Court stating that the tax free permit scheme provided for MPs and Cabinet Ministers to import vehicles has since been abused by members and minsters selling the permits in the open market. Petitioner further states that despite the complaint made by him to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or more..

Speaker signs blueprint of 19 A

May 15 (EN) Sri Lanka's parliamentary speaker has given legal effect to a constitutional change aimed at reducing the arbitrary powers of the elected ruling class and giving more independence to the public service in a bid to give freedom to ordinary citizens. The 19th amendment to Sri Lanka's constitution will create a constitutional council to oversee the public service, making it more difficult for the elected rulers to more..

GK, CIFL and all that

May 15 (CT) Yesterday this newspaper carried an article saying that Golden Key (GK) depositors, an allegedly illegal failed finance house, will be repaid their lost deposits. Article quoting Minister, Ravi Karunanayake, said that a sum of Rs 26.1 billion will have to be paid to such depositors. GK was a company once controlled by business magnate Lalith Kotelawala. He ran a business empire under the Ceylinco name. Prime source of business of the Ceylinco Group was financial services. more..

Sri Lanka rupee forwards rise; spot allowed to climb 10 cents

May 15 (Reuters) Sri Lankan rupee forwards gained slightly on Friday due to stock-related dollar inflows, while the country's central bank in a surprise move let the spot currency rise 10 cents, after allowing it to trade up 10 cents on Wednesday. Central bank has permitted the rupee to depreciate 60 cents in three calibrated steps since April 30 through Tuesday amid downward pressure on the currency, but it reversed the trend to enable it to move up on Wednesday and Friday. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

'Unfolding in duly ordained fashion'

May 15 (CT) If the responses to my recent columns to Colombo Telegraph have done nothing else, they have provoked responses that should give at least a few of us cause for even a small degree of optimism: there ARE people who perceive the deception and deceit that is being performed under cover of Yahapalanaya, covering the backsides of those who have done very well, thank you, under the Rajapaksa dispensation! However, identifying the problem (not merely the symptom) as more..

Snatch thief, a constable

May 15 (Island) A thief after snatching a gold chain from a woman on Tuesday afternoon along the Kandy Lake drove away in a small car. Some youths on hearing cries of the woman gave chase to the car. The suspect kept speeding and in the rush rammed his car into the back of another vehicle. Two police constables on duty at the spot arrested the suspect and took him to the Kandy police station. The suspect told police that he was a police constable working in Colombo. more..

Video: Gota’s FR: Ranil points to defect in court order

May 15 (AD) Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today said that a defect may exist with regard to the recent Supreme Court order, preventing the arrest of Gotabaya Rajapaksa, because such a stay order requires a minimum of three judges. The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued an interim order preventing the former Defence Secretary’s arrest until the determination of the FR petition filed by him. more..

Sierra Construction wins deal to build multimodal transport hub

May 15 (EN) Sierra Construction (Pvt) Ltd. has won a contract to build Sri Lanka’s first multi-modal transport hub costing 845 million rupees at Makumbura, a town in the southern suburbs of Colombo close to an expressway. Transport hub will have a bus terminal, railway station, a bus/car taxi park and connecting roads. Makumbura new town development has been recognised by the UDA and Transport Ministry as a transportation centre that combines the bus and train services to more..

Five shops raided for selling imported sweets with improper labelling

May 15 (Island) The Public Health Department of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC PHD) said it would take legal action against five shops in the Pettah, Grandpass and Kocchikade North and South areas for retailing imported sweet and dairy products in violation of label regulations. Acting Food Inspector, M.B. Lal Kumara said that the labels did not mention the Sri Lankan distributor’s name and address. The PHD team which included MOH Dr. Subash Mendis, a food inspector and more..

Inside story: Ranil, AG’s dept buckled Gota’s case

May 15 (CT) Serious concerns have been raised with regard to the conduct of the Attorney Generals’ department which resulted in Gotabaya Rajapaksa being granted a wide ranging interim relief, preventing his arrest from any state officer. The case is set for objections by the state on July 17th and the next hearing is set for October 6th. However, no date has been given for counter objections by the Petitioner Rajapaksa. more..

Big onion cultivation in doubtful state

May 15 (DN) The inclement weather is taking a heavy toll on big onion cultivation in Matale district and reaping good harvest is doubtful in the current yala season, farmer organization members said. The big onion seed cultivation in the district, was also not successful as expected during the last season. It will directly influence the big onion cultivation in the current yala season, they said. The farmers who cultivated seed onion plots using imported seeds are disappointed as more..

Schoolgirl raped and killed

May 15 (Island) Kayts police yesterday morning recovered the body of an 18-year-old schoolgirl of Punkudutivu Tamil Vidyalaya dumped in a palmyrah grove. Police said the victim had been raped. The victim’s parents had complained to the police that their daughter had not returned from school. Police suspect that the sexual attack had been carried while on she was on her way to school. An officer said that the police suspected the involvement of one or two suspects in the murder. more..

Ranil’s statement undermines judiciary: JHU

May 15 (DM) The JHU, which is a constituent party of the govt, said today PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s remarks on the Supreme Court order staying the arrest of former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa undermined the judiciary. The PM, had said the stay order had been given without allowing him or the Cabinet to make submissions. JHU Media Secretary Nisantha Warnasinghe said such remarks were a slur more..

All-round Siriwardene stars in easy SL win

May 15 (CI) Shashikala Siriwardene backed up her 4 for 30 with an unbeaten 42 to guide Sri Lanka Women to a six-wicket win over West Indies Women in the second ODI at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. Having chosen to bat, West Indies began sedately before right-arm pacer Sripali Weerakkody dismissed Hayley Matthews for 11 in the 10th over. Kycia Knight and StefanieTaylor consolidated with a 48-run partnership before running into Siriwardene. West Indies slipped from 95 for 2 to 110 for 7 more..

Work on Rs. 37 billion water supply project held up

May 15 (ST) The second and third phase of the Kandy North and Patha Dumbara Water Supply Project costing approximately thirty seven billion rupees has come to a standstill. Work on the project was brought to a halt after the tender, which had earlier been awarded to a Chinese company was put to the Project Revision Committee after the present government came to power. Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) completed the first stage of the project in 2012. more..

Sri Lanka Muslims make counter colonisation claim in northeast

May 15 (PTI) A Sri Lankan Muslim organisation today accused the Sinhalese majority of attempting to colonise the country's northeastern Mannar region following allegations by Buddhist nationalist groups that a govt minister was responsible for illegal settlement of Muslims in the area. Minister of Commerce Rishath Bathiyutheen was accused of carrying out illegal settlements of conflict-displaced Muslims in Wilpattu area. more..

Dockyard to build tug, barge for Maldives

May 15 (EN) Sri Lankan ship builder Colombo Dockyard said it had won contracts to build an 8-ton Bollard Pull Tug and a 45-metre Flat Top Barge for the Maldivian State Trading Organization PLC (STO). The tug, designed by ship designer Macduff Ship Design Ltd of UK, is based on a workboat originally built for Perth Harbour, and has been customized to suit STO’s operational requirements, a statement said. The Flat Top Barge is to be used for deck loading operations more..

Groups urge SL to implement media reforms

May 15 (UCAN) Media and civil society groups on Thursday urged the Sri Lankan govt to implement media reforms as part of sweeping political and legislative changes taking place in the island nation. The groups, including the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Centre for Law and Democracy in Canada, Open Society Foundation, South Asian Media Solidarity Network, UNESCO and Sri Lanka Press Institute, gave cautious praise to the govt for improving press freedom since more..

Three nabbed over kidnap, rape and murder of student

May 15 (AD) Police have arrested three suspects in connection with the kidnapping, rape and murder of an 18-year-old student, who was on her way to school Wednesday morning in Punkudithivu, Jaffna. The victim’s body, with her hands and feet tied with rope, had been found at an abandoned property located near her school while several cuts were also found in parts of her body. The discovery was made following investigations carried out more..