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Kumar Sangakkara on the biggest characters in his career

May 16 (SKY) Kumar Sangakkara gives the lowdown on his team-mates from a near 20-year cricket career. As part of Sky Sports' Team Mates strand for the 2015 county cricket season, Sangakkara - currently playing for Surrey - was the latest to lift the lid on his international and county colleagues. Q: Who is the worst loser? A: Someone who takes things really seriously, even when we play a game of soccer to warm-up, is Mahela more..

Saluting the Security Forces

May 17 (SO) The wars that need to be remembered in post-colonial Sri Lanka are all wars within the nation and between Sri Lankans themselves. The executors of the actual armed conflicts are the State armed forces on the one hand and, on the other, various anti-State armed groups fighting for different causes. The armed forces of a nation-State are the instrument for the ultimate protection of the nation and its political entity, the State. When the armed forces are used by the govt of the time more..

From transparency to duplicity

May 17 (NS) J.C. Weliamuna, the man heading the chapter of Transparency International in Sri Lanka is under the microscope for allowing himself to be compensated (a polite way of saying bribed) to the tune of Rs.3.5 million by the govt to conduct a well-publicized which hunt of SriLankan Airlines’ previous management. In fairness to the government, it has been transparent in its objectives from the get go; find dirt on former Chairman Nishantha Wickramasinghe & CEO Kapila Chandrasena more..

Jayalalithaa’s comeback: Is trouble brewing for Lanka across the Palk Strait?

May 17 (SO) Is trouble brewing for Sri Lanka across the Palk Strait with TN firebrand J Jayalalithaa, poised to resume charge as Chief Minister of the South Indian state? With her back in the saddle in Chennai, would the Sri Lankan Tamil issue, lying dormant in Tamil Nadu since her incarceration in a corruption case in September last year, be re-kindled? Or are there mitigating factors which could ensure peace in the region? more..

Govt on strike; President faces agonising choice

May 17 (ST) Political instability is snowballing with the PM of a minority Govt saying Parliament is dead; a section of the same Govt saying election pledges must be fulfilled before an election is held; and the majority Opposition declaring that Parliament must continue till electoral reforms are introduced through the 20th Amendment. In between this rock and a hard place sits the President. At a meeting with an international media delegation, Premier made it clear that not just Right to Information Bill, more..

Not only the constitution and electoral system but political leaders too

May 17 (SL) Acrimonious debating on constitutional changes has been followed by an equally heated debate on the proposed changes to the electoral system. No doubt the constitution and the system of electoral representation is the bedrock of our politics and the proposed changes should receive the intense scrutiny of the people. But beyond these two factors much more important will be the human facto - the kind of people who will be involved in the implementation of the constitution and more..

'Balasingham was disappointed with Prabhakaran'

May 17 (CT) One time Editor-in-Chief of Uthayan and Sudar Oli newspapers, Nadesapillai Vithyatharan, is known as a person who has comprehensive knowledge about the inner workings of the LTTE. He also acted as a go-between at one time, taking messages between South and North. As the sixth anniversary of the end of the war will be commemorated in just two days, CT spoke to Vithyatharan about the final days of more..

Political picture becomes nuttier and fruitier

May 17 (Island) Nobody, except President Maithripala Sirisena, knows when the incumbent Parliament will be dissolved. Various political players, of course, have their preferences often depending on astrological factors and other mumbo jumbo that too many of our politicians, past and present, have depended on. However that be, elections are due in the short term and the manner in which various events are panning out suggests every possibility that they would be sooner more..

Four musketeers set for showdown

May 17 (ST) My dear Wimal, Vasu, Dinesh and Udaya, I am writing to congratulate you on your recent work, staging rallies in cities around the country trying to convince people that we should all get together to try and bring back Mahinda maama so that he can save the nation once again, although it is only a few months since he was voted out of office. I am told the most recent meeting at Kurunegala was a huge success because dozens of blue MPs and thousands of people attended more..

'Army morale was high during final phase of LTTE war'

May 17 (CT) Major General Prasanna Silva who led the 59th Division of Sri Lanka Army to end the war six years ago explains how the final battle was fought. Q: How do you introduce yourself briefly? A: Major General Prasanna Silva. Q: What is your present position? A: I am the Army Coordinating Officer of the Ministry of Defence. In addition, I am the Commander of the Army Commando Regiment. more..

New AA President Sugath Thilakaratne: Promises to deliver the goods

May 17 (SO) Newly elected Athletic Association president Sugath Tillekeratne expressed his utmost confidence that he could deliver the goods. with the support of the others, namely the Ministry Of Sports and the National Olympic Committee’ Tillekeratne sees bright future for athletics in SL. He said that initially when he came forward as a candidate as the president of the country’s prestigious athletic body, many eyebrows were raised doubting his capabilities as an administrator. more..

Political witch hunt continues says opposition

May 17 (CT) Political circles buzzed last week much about the possible arrest of former Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa who was requested to appear before the FCID of the police. However, Gotabaya chose to file a Fundamental Rights (FR) application in the Supreme Court challenging the authority of the FCID to arrest him and sought leave to hear his application. The application came before Justices Sarath de Abrew, Eva Wanasundere and Buwakeka Aluvihare. more..

Sri Lanka Netball in crisis: Seniors set to boycott the World Cup

May 17 (CT) SL Netball Federation which is yet to name the national pool for the upcoming World Cup in Australia could be facing further difficulties as a majority of the senior players are set to boycott the biggest event in world netball. Players are said to be very unhappy with the progress of the country's netball as the Federation is still to find a head coach, an assistant coach and a junior national coach with WC scheduled to be held in Aug. more..

UNP gains from dissolution of LG bodies

May 17 (Island) Second biggest advantage that the UNP gained since the last presidential election was the dissolution of the largely UPFA controlled local govt bodies last night. (The biggest advantage they got was the appointment of a largely UNP cabinet.) These LG institutions will now function under a special commissioner or a secretary until next LG election which will be held after parliamentary election. Usually, no ruling party will dissolve LG bodies with a major election in the offing. more..

Pak wobble before match meanders to draw

May 17 (CI) Like Sri Lanka A had done in their first innings, Pakistan A lost their last five wickets in a heap, but the match wound to a draw to leave the series square at 0-0 after the conclusion of two of the three unofficial Tests. Pakistan A lost innings top scorer Usman Salahuddin before he could improve on his overnight score of 86, but although Adnan Akmal offered some resistance with a 100-ball 47, the tail folded meekly around him. Though they had been 41 shy of Sri Lanka A's first innings total more..

TNA to boycott military parade

May 17 (SL) TNA will boycott the military parade set to be held on May 19 in Matara to mark six years since the end of the war. TNA MP Suresh Premachandran said that the TNA has taken a clear position not to take part in the event which has been held every year since the war ended in May 2009. However, he said that he would not be able to comment on behalf of TNA leader R. Sampanthan and TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran. more..

Uncertainty reigns

May 17 (SL) The minority govt have scored a number of apparent quick wins. These came in the form of arrests being made. Gotabaya Rajapaksa however was to score points all by himself whilst Mahinda Rajapaksa took stock of his position amidst a growing feeling that if he was to prolong his strategy so will the resolve of the investigative bodies looking into complaints against officials of the previous regime. However after the meeting of the two presidents present and former recently, more..

National Audit, Procurement Commissions soon

May 17 (SO) The passage of the 19th Amendment in Parliament will help develop the country while improving its image at the international level, State Minister of Finance Mahinda Samarasinghe told guests at the release of the United Nations Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) report in Colombo last week. He said, “The Govt should market this because the inclusion of the 19A in the Statute books will bring many benefits locally and internationally. more..

Suspected duty-free liquor racket: Customs seize invoices from STC

May 17 (Island) Customs officers have seized documentation relating to the import of duty-free liquor by State Trading Corporation, a venture under Industry and Commerce Ministry, following suspicions that foreign alcohol products had been smuggled out to be sold to unauthorized persons at a hefty margin. STC sells imported booze at duty-free rates to foreign missions, diplomats and UN offices based in SL through its duty-free more..

NCE signs MOU with Verité Research

May 17 (NS) National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE), the only private sector Chamber which exclusively serves Sri Lankan exporters has joined hands with Verité Research to conduct research and policy advisory on specific trade related topics. Executive Director of Verité Research Dr Nishan de Mel entered into a MoU with President of National Chamber of Exporters Sarada de Silva. The objective of the NCE is to serve as a forum to discuss export related subjects, more..

SL-China FTA to allow skilled workers here

May 17 (ST) A storm is brewing over renewed negotiation of the proposed Indo-Sri Lanka Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) after Indian PM Narendra Modi threw the ball in the Sri Lankan court saying India was interested in finalising this agreement. However, at a recent discussion on CEPA and its future, Subashini Abeysinghe, an economist at research firm Verite Research, said that similar to the trade in services’ portions in the agreement, the proposed more..

Govt continues borrowing spree with controversial T-bond issue hanging like ...

May 17 (ST) With the recent controversial Treasury bond issue hanging like the sword of Damocles, the govt continues its local borrowing spree to provide provisional advances to the state expenditure authorised under the consolidated fund. Central Bank has issued Treasury bonds amounting to Rs. 26 billion once again recently to safeguard ministry funds without resorting to the previous regime’s practice of transferring money from more..

Hikkaduwa hotels to legally challenge arbitrary liquor tax

May 17 (ST) Hikkaduwa Hotels’ Association (HHA) will go to courts next month against Minister Ravi Karunanayake for imposing an arbitrary liquor tax. “We are trying to get a writ on the Minister of Finance against the unreasonable tax on the issuance of our liquor licences,” a HHA member said. He said HHA, being a regional association, refused to pay the 100 per cent increase on the license fee that was imposed on them after the new regime’s mini budget in January. more..

Sri Lankan Hotelier is Ko Olina’s man for Four Seasons

May 17 (Island) Sanjiv Hulugalle was named general manager of the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina last month. He has worked at 12 properties with Four Seasons over the past two decades and most recently was general manager and rooms lead for the Asia Pacific region. Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina, formerly the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa, has been closed since March while it undergoes a $500 million renovation. It is expected to reopen early next year. more..

CID questions SEC officials on Rs. 5 mln Tharunyata Hetak grant

May 17 (ST) CID recently summoned several officials attached to the Securities and Exchange (SEC) to record statements on the Rs. 5 million grant by the regulator for a youth movement headed by former President’s son and politician, Namal Rajapaksa’s Tharunyata Hetak Fund some two years ago. Senior CID sources said one official was questioned for five and a half hours on this last week. more..

At least 98 MPs back Mahinda

May 17 (SL) At least 98 MPs have decided to support former President Rajapaksa at the next Parliament elections. Former President is expected to contest the elections under the chair symbol used by People’s Alliance of which former PM D.M. Jayaratne was the General Secretary. Meanwhile, the SLFP members who are in the Government are looking at forming a new alliance to contest the next Parliament elections separately instead of under the UPFA or with the UNP. more..

Free WiFi Zones at trade centres

May 17 (Island) Under the project of setting up throughout the country, 1,000 WiFi zones which provide free internet facilities, steps are now being taken to set up free WiFi zones for trade centres. ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) says that this free WiFi facility is scheduled to be set up at all dedicated economic centres. Free WiFi facility is already in place at the dedicated economic centre in Narahenpita, Tripoli trade centre in Maradana and the floating trade complex in Colombo Fort. more..

Decision on local TV rights bid put off

May 17 (ST) The Sri Lanka Cricket Interim Committee, which was to evaluate local bids for TV rights on Wednesday, has put off the decision for a further date. Sri Lanka Cricket CEO Ashley de Silva told the Sunday Times: “The Tender Committee which met prior to the Interim Committee meeting to evaluate the tender felt that they needed further details with regard to the matter and they decided to put it off for a further date. more..

President to select Pera VC from 3 names

May 17 (ST) 25-member Council of the University of Peradeniya yesterday selected three professors whose names will be sent to President Maithripala Sirisena for him to select a Vice Chancellor (VC) of the university for the next three years. There were five applicants, namely the present VC Prof Athula Senaratne, former Deputy VC Prof Anura Wickramasinghe, Prof Upali Dissanayake, Prof Buddhi Marambe and Prof Sam Dharmasena. The three dons selected by the council were more..

Govt medical administrators voice concern again over unfilled vacancies

May 17 (Island) Govt medical administrators continue to express concern over the Health Ministry’s failure to fill many key administrative positions in the govt health sector. Amongst the slots two top slots which needed permanent appointments were Deputy Director General Laboratory Services and Senior Assistant Secretary, (Medical Services), sources said. These two positions had remained vacant since 2012. This is a sad state-of-affairs as 80% of the workload in govt health service more..

Controversial White Flag and war crimes issues: Solheim testifies before UN

May 17 (CT) Former Norwegian peace facilitator Erik Solheim said he had testified before the UN probe panel on the events that took place during the final phase of the war and the white flag issue. Last year Solheim said that he 'would go before the International Criminal Court or any recognized International Tribunal to give evidence against Sri Lanka on alleged war crimes'. He said, "Yes, I told all what I knew to UNHRC panel more..

20A as urgent bill; CC within two weeks

May 17 (ST) 19th Amendment’s provisions including the one that does away with the presentation of urgent bills will become effective only when the term of the next parliament begins after the general elections. 19th Amendment, certified on Wednesday by Speaker, includes the changes made during the Committee stage of the debate before it was passed on April 28. This move would enable the Govt to present as an urgent bill the 20th Amendment, which deals with electoral reforms. more..

Stolen assets probe begins in US

May 17 (SO) The unearthing of possibly billions of rupees worth of assets syphoned off from Sri Lanka and stashed away in the United States of America begins with the return of the high-powered US investigative team that was in Colombo last week. A team of US prosecutors and investigators was in the country to assist their Sri Lankan counterparts to trace and recover the stolen assets stashed in financial institutions in the United States. “The team comprised officers from more..

Swiss bank exposé: Names of 40 Sri Lankans revealed

May 17 (ST) Some 40 Sri Lankans stashed away around US$ 50 million in secret Swiss bank accounts, according to details made available by the US based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The details were obtained by the ICIJ from the French newspaper Le Monde and led to many collaborative projects by the ICIJ in what came to be known as Swiss Leaks. Sri Lankans are among 100,000 clients of more..

Sri Lanka wants investor support to transform into new era: Finance Minister

May 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s government is seeking investor support to develop the Island’s economy and assured it’s full support for improving the ease of doing business. “I’m sure the environment is rather buoyant for investors to come in. This is the time the Prime Minister and our government are looking for your support to help us to achieve make Sri Lanka a better tomorrow,’ Ravi Karunanayake, Minister of Finance said at a forum held in Colombo, Thursday. more..

Finance Ministry goes nuts over 200 Arecanut containers

May 17 (CT) The recent regulations issued by the Minister of Finance amending the Special Import Regulations published in the Gazette Extra Ordinary No: 1813/14 dated 5 June 2013 have raised serious concerns among custom officials as well as agriculture experts for the loss of Rs 133 million tax money to Sri Lanka Customs (nearly 200 containers). The regulations made by the Finance Minister under Section 20 read with subsection (3) of section 4 and section 14 of the more..

Sirisena and govt embroiled in disputes and deadlocks

May 17 (ST) Five months after presidential poll, the presidency and the Govt seem to be drifting without direction. With a truncated 19A in his pocket, President Sirisena is trying hard to bag the 20A. It is not easy, though he has asked a ministerial team to give shape to an electoral reform package through constitutional amendments. With growing displeasure among MPs of SLFP and their allies, will he succeed in receiving a 2/3 vote more..

Reflections: 19 May 2009

May 17 (CT) On Tuesday Sri Lanka celebrates the sixth year of its successful defeat of Northern terrorism. Northern terrorism which drew its numbers mainly from the Tamils living in the North and the East became full blown after the July 1983 riots in Sri Lanka. However, the country was sitting on a powder keg after July 1977, before its explosion six years later, when, for the first time in Sri Lanka's parliamentary history, the TULF, a party which mainly derived its political power more..

MS wants SLFP renewal, MR interested only in himself, what is RW planning for the UNP?

May 17 (Island) The country will soon have a replay of the January presidential election; sort of. Sure, it will be a parliamentary election unlike the presidential election in January, but just as in January the upcoming election will revolve around the same three key personalities although in a drastically different triangle of power relationship. In January, it was Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) who was in power and seeking an unprecedented and fraudulent third term in office. more..

More Scholarships for Ranaviru Children

May 17 (MoD) Ranaviru Seva Authority organized a scholarships awarding ceremony for Ranaviru children in Gampaha District yesterday (15). State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene graced the occasion as the Chief Guest at event held at the District Secretariat Office in Gampaha. Secretary to the Defence State Ministry APG Kithsiri and Chairperson of Ranaviru Seva Authority Anoma Fonseka were more..