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Talk at the Cafe Spectator

May 17 (ST) The findings of the probe into SriLankan Airlines, the country’s national carrier, will be investigated by two agencies — the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) and the Commission Investigating Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC). A Govt source said FCID would question former Chairman Nishantha Wickramasinghe, former CEO Kapila Chandrasena and other senior officials. more..

Emmanuel gives Sirisena the thumbs up

May 17 (CG) The head of the Global Tamil Forum (GTF), an influential diaspora group based in London, says President Maithripala Sirisena is showing signs of an emerging patriot and statesman. Father S.J. Emmanuel, who was listed in Sri Lanka by the former Govt over alleged terrorist links, said that by word and example, Sirisena is appealing to everyone to put the country and the people before political parties. more..

Brazil strike scuttles Lankans’ Rotary show travel plans

May 17 (ST) More than 150 Sri Lankans who are scheduled to travel to Brazil to attend a gala Rotary Club event are kicking their heels waiting for visas due to a career civil servants’ strike which has crippled much of the consular activities of Brazil’s missions abroad. The Brazilian Embassy in Colombo sent a notice to travel agents and applicants informing them that due to a general strike in the Foreign Services, its embassy more..

'Rajapaksa now begging people to make him next PM'

May 17 (Island) Leader of the Democratic Party (DP) Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka said that the Rajapaksas threatened and scared people into submission when they were in power, but today when they are hauled before the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption over the mega deals where billions of rupees of public money was squandered, they make all kinds of excuses. more..

SLFP says No to elections in July

May 17 (Island) The UNP predicted that Parliament would be dissolved by the end of this month and a General Election held in July, while the SLFP differed saying the poll could take place only in September. Deputy Minister Ruwan Wijewardena said that PM Ranil Wickremesinghe had requested President to dissolve the national legislature latest by the end of this month and they were confident the President would comply, which would make more..

New Army Chief a blow to justice

May 17 (HRW) Sri Lanka’s promotion of a senior officer whose division was implicated in serious human rights abuses casts doubt on govt pledges to credibly investigate alleged war crimes, Human Rights Watch said. Maj. Gen. Jagath Dias, who led the Army’s 57th Division during the last two years of the civil war with the LTTE, was appointed army chief of staff, one of the armed forces’ highest post. more..

SL eyeing tea-for-oil barter deal with Iran

May 17 (ID) Sri Lanka tea exporters say they hope the United States would agree to a mechanism to settle payments for oil imports from Iran with tea. “We are very optimistic that the US would be intervening where Sri Lanka would be paid in US dollars for tea exports to Iran, where sanctions prevent the Iranian tea importers to transact business in dollars,” said Rohan Fernando, chairman of SL’s Tea Exporters Association. more..

'Port City Project not scrapped'

May 17 (SL) The much talked about Port City Project at Galle Face may resume if the concerns of the Govt are addressed. Board of Investment (BoI) Chairman Upul Jayasuriya said that the Govt is not against the project but wants to ensure the project falls in line with the legal, environmental and other requirements. He said that the Sri Lanka Ports Authority should have heeded the advice of the Attorney General (AG) that more..

SL rejects demands by Indian fishermen

May 17 (ST) Sri Lankan Govt will officially convey to India that Sri Lanka’s fisheries organisations have rejected their Indian counterparts’ demands including access to Lankan territorial waters. The decision was taken after a series of consultations among local fisheries associations. Sri Lanka’s position would be conveyed to Indian fisheries associations in Chennai through the Foreign Affairs Ministry. more..

What did Scotland say in the elections?

May 17 (Island) It is surprising that most commentators, especially UK media, seem to have drawn all the wrong conclusions from the May 7 elections. It seems a bit odd for me to say it, but the Conservative Liberal Democratic (C-LD) coalition lost ground and Labour gained. What an odd thing to say you may think but did you realise that the outgoing C-LD govt jointly led by Cameron and Clegg commanded 364 seats between them in the Commons & Tory majority govt now has only more..

Is our aggregate debt level excessive?

May 17 (Island) Our Gross External Debt position increased from $ 39,905 billion in 2013 to $ 42,988 billion in 2014. As a Percentage of GDP gross external debt was 59.4%. Short term debt was 9.7% and long term debt was 47.7%. As a percentage of GDP gross external short term debt was 16.9% and long term debt 83.1%. Our Total Debt is 78% of the GDP. Our Foreign Debt level is around 58% of GDP. Is this foreign debt level too high? What are the risks in having a high foreign debt level? more..

Who is this Somawansa?

May 17 (CT) Comrade Somawansa Amarasinghe has again become a main topic in the political arena. I met him first in 1976. That was when he was engaged in secretly reorganising the JVP that had been destroyed after the 1971 insurrection. Amarasinghe who had been freed after being in prison for a long time after the insurrection had been engaged in contributing to rebuild the party from the moment he came out of prison. more..

Woman (72), grandson (16) gunned down by man out on bail

May 17 (ST) A man released on bail three months earlier, this morning shot a woman, Anula Kandambi (72) and her grandson, Lashen Niroshan (16), of Uyanwatte in Matara. Police said they had been shot over a private dispute, and to take revenge on Anula’s son. The victims were taken to Matara General Hospital, where they later succumbed to their injuries. Investigators found 9 mm bullets as well as two emptycartridge cases at the crime scene. They alleged that the prime suspect is more..

Commemorating Mullivaikkal Day 2009: Tamil Diaspora poised for massive demos

May 17 (CT) Almost the entire Tamil Diaspora in France, US, Canada, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Australia, UK and elsewhere will take to the streets globally tomorrow (18) to commemorate Mullivaikkal Day or the last phase of the war that ended on May 18, 2009, the day LTTE supremo Prabhakaran was killed. Despite Sri Lanka opting for a conciliatory re-naming of Victory Day as Remembrance day on May 19 in a bid to encourage the reconciliation process more..

Despite protests road to be named after Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka

May 17 (CT) The Colombo Municipality said yesterday that a road in the Maligakanda area in Maradana is to be renovated and renamed after Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka. Mayor of Colombo, A.J.M. Muzammil, said President Maithripala Sirisena had suggested that this particular road, running adjacent to White Park in the Maligakanda area, be named after Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka in recognition of his more..

TGTE to reveal names of alleged war criminals

May 17 (CT) Transnational Govt of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) said it will release the first batch of names of Sri Lanka's alleged war criminals at tomorrow's 5th anniversary commemoration ceremony in the USA, that will revisit the final phases of the war in which they claim the killing of a large number of Tamils. TGTE says the first batch of names will include important political and military leaders who were allegedly responsible over the years for killing large numbers of Tamils. more..

Tamils urged to attend Remembrance Day functions

May 17 (SO) The Council of Tamil Civil Society Organisations has made an open request that Tamils should attend remembrance day functions in their respective areas without keeping away, hold poojas in all Hindu temples for the souls of their departed loved ones. It also requested that school children pay floral tributes and light lamps first thing in the morning in the schools and govt departments and offices in the North and East get the permission of their respective Provincial Council more..

Video: Govt conspires to hunt down members of the ex-govt: NFF

May 17 (AD) A conspiracy is underway to confine former President Rajapaksa and former Minister Wimal Weerawansa ahead of the forthcoming general election, NFF said today. The observation was made by NFF Media Spokesman Mohammed Muzammil said. “There is a move to confine those who speak against the new Govt,” he added, saying that the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID), which more..

Settlers’ response not known

May 17 (CT) Governor of the Eastern Province Austin Fernando said that he was unaware of the responses of the people affected by the judgment issued last Friday by the Supreme Court to suspend the Gazette Notification issued by President Sirisena by which he ceded to the original owners 818 acres of land in Sampur in the Eastern Province. He said this judgment will affect only 137 of the 825 families who are displaced by having lost their homesteads in the Sampur area. more..

Wele Suda’s brother arrested with heroin

May 17 (AD) An individual, who is said to be the younger brother of well-known drug baron Wele Sudha, has been arrested by the Kohuwala police and found 2 g and 300 mg of heroin in his possession. Acting on a tip-off, the suspect was arrested on Sunday morning, the police Spokesperson said. The police currently interrogate the drug kingpin under a three months detention order on the details on how he managed to carry out drug related operations. more..

Mixed reaction to move for consumer scales in shops

May 17 (ST) Vendors will face fines if they fail to follow a new mechanism that gives consumers an opportunity to check the weight of purchased items. The fines system will come into effect following an awareness campaign to be carried out during the next three weeks, Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) Chairman of CAA Rumy Marzook said. CAA has issued a gazette notification directing all traders to install from this month, more..

Sri Lanka to construct Buddhist, Hindu Monastries in Nepal

May 17 (GDI) The Sri Lanka Govt is planning to construct a Buddhist Monastery and a Hindu Monastry in Nepal. A proposal by Buddha Sasana, Public Administration, Local Govt and Democratic Governance Minister Karu Jayasuriya to contribute for the reconstruction of a Buddhist monastery and a Hindu monastery in Nepal following the recent earthquake was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers. Sri Lankan Embassy in Nepal reported that a number of Buddhist monasteries more..

President Sirisena launches National Energy Conservation Month with 4-km road run

May 17 (ST) A campaign on energy conservation was launched with a public event, under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena and Minister Champika Ranawaka, in Colombo. A promotional race Javana Shakti Yatra, first stage of Hetak Venuwen Ratak (A Country for Tomorrow) programme for this year’s National Energy Conservation Month, began at Independence Square yesterday morning. Before the race began, President took the Energy pledge, more..

Sri Lanka warns foreign firms against unauthorised gem mining

May 17 (EN) Sri Lanka’s gem mining authority, the National Gem & Jewellery Authority (NGJA), has warned foreign companies against doing gem mining in the island without a license issued by it. “Foreign companies that have minerals exploration licenses which are not issued by the National Gem & Jewellery Authority are not supposed to do any gemstone mining,” said K L D Dayasagara, deputy director general, NGJA. more..

‘My biggest achievement was winning the trust of my constituents’

May 17 (Island) Until news spread in the media during the run-up to the British general election that Ranil Jayawardena, Conservative Candidate for North East Hampshire, has been racially abused by Robert Blay, a UKIP candidate in the same constituency, not many Sri Lankans in the UK knew that a candidate of Sri Lankan origin was contesting this particular seat. The key focus amongst Sri Lankans, until that point of time, were Chamali Fernando, Conservative candidate for more..

PM’s remark is a major blow to the independence of the judiciary: Silva

May 17 (AD) PM Ranil Wickramasinghe’s recent remark, concerning the order of the Supreme Court on the former Defence Secretary’s fundamental rights petition, is a major blow to the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law, Opposition Leader and SLFP MP Nimal Siripala de Silva said today. He also pointed out the order, which had been issued with respect to the FR petition that filed to challenge the legality of establishing FCID and to prevent Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s arrest, more..

Criminal charges against Gota

May 17 (SO) Criminal charges are to be filed against former Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, for flouting govt tender procedure and for the purchase of four MiG 27 Flogger D fighter-bomber aircraft in 2006 at a staggering US$ 14,676,000, for failure of duty and causing loss to the State, in his capacity as the Chief Accounting Officer of the Ministry of Defence. Agreement was entered into, without a performance bond and more..

10 Perfect Villas to rent in Sri Lanka

May 17 (YT) There’s never been a better time to visit the tropical island of Sri Lanka, located just off the southern coast of India. The country spent much of the past 30 years in civil war, but, since 2009, when the govt defeated the insurgent Tamil Tigers, the peace has held. Despite its relatively tiny size—Sri Lanka is about the same size as Ireland or West Virginia—the country boasts extraordinary geographic, meteorological and cultural contrasts. A 15-minute walk can take you from more..

Two policemen killed in central Sri Lanka

May 17 (Xinhua) Two police officers were killed when a van collided head on with a truck at Ududumbara in Central Sri Lanka on Sunday, police said. Three other police officers traveling in the van were also injured and rushed to the Kandy state hospital. The police officers were attached to the local Galaha Police Station and were returning after attending a funeral when they met with the fatal accident, the officer added. The driver of the truck was arrested and more..

Video: SLFP warns President on LG bodies

May 17 (CG) The SLFP today warned President Maithripala Sirisena saying it will go to the next level if he fails to hold elections for the Local Govt (LG) bodies whose terms have now ended. SLFP spokesman Dilan Perera said that while the President had decided to appoint special commissioners to the LG bodies, the SLFP wants elections to be held. The term of LG bodies ended on May 15 and President announced that more..

High-tech CCTV at consular dept

May 17 (SL) High-tech CCTV cameras have been installed at the Consular Department of the Foreign Ministry to monitor the activities of the staff. The CCTV cameras have been connected to the mobile phones of some top Ministry officials to keep a close eye even from outside office. Deputy Minister Ajith Perera said that he can monitor the department using his mobile phone. He said that the CCTV cameras were installed to improve the Consular Department work, security and so ensure more..

War heroes event by pro-Mahinda faction

May 17 (SO) Former Minister Bandula Gunewardena said the War Heroes Day would be commemorated this year at the Vihara Maha Devi Park in Colombo under the patronage of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. It is convened by the Motherland Organisation which was formed recently with the active participation of politicians, professionals, artistes and intellectuals of all communities irrespective of differences. Motherland Organisation decided to declare the week more..

Prime Minister defends acharu govt

May 17 (CG) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe today defended the policies of the coalition govt which some people say is a acharu govt. Speaking at an event in Walapane, PM said that acharu govt has achieved in 100 days what former President Rajapaksa could not achieve in five years. “We have at least reduced the cost of living burden on the people,” he said. PM noted that President Sirisena was elected to power in order to more..

UNP wants Parliament polls soon

May 17 (CG) The UNP today said that Parliament elections must be held soon since the current Govt has gone beyond its term. UNP MP and Minister Karu Jayasuriya said that the Govt was given a mandate to be in office only for 100 days. “We have no right to continue beyond 100 days,” he said. He said that the UNP hopes that at the next cabinet meeting an agreement will be reached on electoral reforms. after which Parliament can be dissolved and fresh elections held. more..

Urgent repairs to Sigiriya Museum following press expose

May 17 (Island) Japanese-gifted Sigiriya Museum and the Information Centre, considered among the finest in South Asia when it was opened six years ago but which had since been allowed to run down to abysmal depths, it now being repaired and rehabilitated following press exposure of its sorry condition. The work is now about 60% complete and it is hoped to finish it in two more weeks, the Director General of the Central Cultural Fund (CCF), Prof. Prishanta Gunawardhana said. more..

Sri Lanka’s external debt higher than most other countries in Sub Region

May 17 (Island) Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, said that winning the peace, rule of law and better governance were trajectory focus areas, which will be brought about by the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. In addition, human rights, transparency and transcending political differences would cement the climate of political progress for better economic progress. 19th Amendment will improve SL’s image and attract more FDI more..

How to solve Wilpattu

May 18 (CT) The JVP has raised concerns about deforestation around Wilpattu National Park. Four environmental organisations have charged Rishard Bathiudeen of complicity. Now guilt isn’t always about direct involvement. People can be indirectly involved. That is why the allegation that he has cleared more than 18,000 acres of forest land throughout three districts is serious. He needs to be investigated. Period. An inquiry would make sense. President Sirisena has called for one. more..

Democratising laws & minds

May 18 (CT) In a recent satirical column, American humorist Andy Borowitz reported the discovery of a new strain of fact-resistant humans. “These humans appear to have all the faculties necessary to receive and process information… And yet somehow they have developed defences that, for all intents and purposes, have rendered those facilities totally inactive… As facts have multiplied their defences against those facts have grown more powerful”. Mr. Borowitz is writing about more..

'Maithripala's stooges can't decide on party unity'

May 18 (SO) UPFA MP Bandula Gunawardane said even after the SLFP's defeat at the last Presidential Election, a large number of MPs, PC and LG members have rallied round the defeated leader Mahinda Rajapaksa. He said the SLFP is more vibrant party today. He emphasised that there is no division within the SLFP. There may be various rifts within a party but at the decisive moment, they will all stand together. more..

Has Heaven’s malice granted Jayalalithaa’s political prayers?

May 18 (ST) A sun of hope may have lit the faces of all those who face corruption charges and fear imminent arrest in Lanka, as Tamil Nadu’s former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jeyaram walked free from her prison cell on Monday after a High Court judge acquitted her of all convictions, clearing the way for her return to political power. As lamps were lit in kovils and homes, as coconuts were dashed on Chennai streets, as poojas were made to her posters on sidewalk walls; more..