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SL’s judiciary & Yahapalanaya contradictions

May 18 (ST) If the issue was not so serious, the more mischievous-minded among us would surely chuckle at the decidedly awkward predicament that the govt has got itself into, on the cusp of a general election no less. Ambitious proclamations that the independence of the SL judiciary has been fully secured, coming hot on the heels of the executive designating a Chief Justice as if he had never been, are now being exposed as simplistic if not dangerously naïve. more..

Arjuna pads up to rid corruption

May 18 (NS) Arjuna Ranatunga is the Minister for Ports and Shipping in the Maithripala Sirisena administration. However, he is a renowned cricket star who pioneered Sri Lanka Cricket team to win the World Cup in 1996. Ranatunga said that the previous govt led by Mahinda Rajapaksa had allowed his followers to be corrupt. “As the Top was corrupt, the whole system became corrupt,” he said while stressing that more..

End this impasse, for the good!

May 18 (SL) There is an urgent need for the Govt to end the current political impasse, and consequent administrative inaction, if the nation has to move, and move fast from the past that it wants to leave behind. There is only one way to get going in the present juncture and environment, and that is going to the people, asap. When the voter wanted President Rajapaksa out, he wanted all vestiges of the war era and in all walks of political and administrative life to change for good. more..

Heal the private hospitals

May 18 (SL) Despite the beating of drums and blowing of conch-shells about the drastic measures to control pharmaceutical giants, have drugs come down in price? A septuagenarian who consumes about drugs for heart, diabetic and other ailments says that prices, to his knowledge, have not come down. Besides some of the new moves have made matters worse for patients. Doctors who are notorious for illegible prescriptions scribbled brand names which the barely literate pharmacists more..

'I told UN probe panel all I knew'

May 18 (CT) Former Norwegian peace facilitator Erik Solheim who said last year that he would reveal information to a UN probe on Sri Lanka's last phase of the war and the white flag issue if he was called to give evidence, admitted that he had indeed stood before the panel and gave evidence. He also said he was ready to share all he knew before any national or international tribunal. Solheim who was also ex-Minister of more..

Editorial: A question of justice

May 18 (Island) There has been a mixed reaction to the recent Supreme Court interim order staying the arrest of former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. The Rajapaksa faction of the UPFA is over the moon; it is praising the apex court to high heaven. Minister Sajith Premadasa has said the judiciary is now independent and the govt accepts all its decisions. However, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has not taken kindly to the Supreme Court order preventing Gotabhaya’s arrest. more..

DFCC, Vardhana apply to CB for merger

May 18 (FT) DFCC Bank is to merge with its subsidiary DFCC Vardhana Bank (DVB), the two entities said in a joint filing to the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE). The Board of Directors of DFCC and DVB have decided that it would be in the best interests of both banks, its shareholders and other stake holders to amalgamate DFCC and its 99.2%-owned subsidiary, DVB, to continue their activities as a single legal entity, which is a licensed commercial bank. more..

The beggar’s wound and the Sports Law

May 18 (ST) I remember when I was going to school there was a beggar at the eye hospital roundabout with a bandaged leg infested with flies. Day-in, day-out it was the same – the wound never seemed to get better or never was the leg amputated. But, seemingly the poor man may have made a decent living out of it because almost every human being who passed him parted with at least a five cent coin, which they could afford. more..

Vidullanka adds 8th mini hydro power project; now produces 16.75 MW

May 18 (FT) Vidullanka Plc has completed its eighth mini hydro power project last week, bringing the total renewable energy produced by the Group to 16.75 MW. It said the construction of the 1.75 MW Rideepana Mini Hydro Power Plant in Andeniya, Badulla, was successfully completed and was commission to the national grid on 15 May. The latest project for which an investment of Rs. 20 million was made is owned by Rideepana Hydro Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vidullanka. more..

NOC to reconsider IOC Scholarships - Priority to Cooray and Rajasekara

May 18 (CT) National Olympic Committee will call a special meeting this week to reconsider the scholarships which have been granted to Sri Lankan athletes targeting next Rio Olympics 2016. This was after numerous media reports highlighted the fact that the two marathoners, Anuradha Cooray and Niluka Rajasekara who are the only ones in the country to have achieved qualification for 2016 Rio Olympic so far, have been overlooked in the said scholarship. more..

Lankan scientists’ innovation may slash import-bill of chemical fertilizer

May 18 (Island) A group of scientists from the IFS have developed a bio-fertilizer which they say can replace up to 50% of chemical fertilizer usage in major commercial cropland; increasing the crop yield by 20-30%, and significantly contributing to reduce the country's chemical fertilizer import-bill. Sri Lanka spends over Rs. 50 billion a year on importation of chemical fertilizers, out of which Rs. 40 billion is borne by the govt as subsidies. more..

Foreign affairs management and professional diplomacy

May 18 (Island) Total absence of proper foreign affairs management and professional diplomacy during the past ten years has resulted in our country having to pay a huge price on the world stage. Our non management of the ‘Northern Issue’ also contributed to this situation. For the Tamil Diaspora born out of the program of ’83, spared no pain to malign our country and bring us down. Let us now together work to protect our multi ethnic, multi religious, multi religious nation. more..

Skipper Chamari Atapattu back

May 18 (DN) After Sri Lanka Women team’s six-wicket win against the top ranked West Indies women of the first game on Friday, injury-hit skipper Chamari Atapattu will return to the side for the crucial second One Day International of the ICC Women’s Championship, which will be played at the R Premadasa Stadium today. Skipper Atapattu, who was sidelined with hand-injuries, which occurred during a gym session a few days prior to the series, was seen in the net practice yesterday. more..

A sense of calm prevails in the North

May 18 (Hindu) The hoardings in front of the 50-year-old building housing the District Secretariat read: No to violence and Say no to destruction. Never again. One of them was apparently put up at the time of the presidential election in January. People of the Northern Province, having borne the brunt of the Eelam Wars, seem to have internalised these messages. There is a sense of calm in the region. more..

SLT launches Sri Lanka's first Corporate-powered Technological Campus

May 18 (DN) Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) intends to boost the nation's technological education sector with the establishment of the SLT Campus (SLTC), a fully owned subsidiary of SLT. This initiative was officially launched by President Maithripala Sirisena. The launch ceremony was held at TRACE Expert City in Maradana. Conceived to fulfil Sri Lanka's increasing demand for qualified services sector workforce members, SLTC's core objective is to provide students with access to more..

Pak-Lanka trade shows lacklustre growth despite FTA

May 18 (TN) Trade between Pakistan and Sri Lanka has shown lacklustre growth despite the FTA, as Pakistan's exports to Lanka grew from $154 million in 2004 to $316 million in 2013, but Pakistan could only claim 1.7% of total Sri Lankan imports from the world in 2013. SL's exports to Pakistan grew from $46 million to $63 million between 2004 and 2013, and SL claimed only 0.14% of total Pakistani imports from the world in 2013. Both countries claim significant market shares in more..

Qatar plans LNG plant in Sri Lanka

May 18 (DN) The Qatari govt has expressed interest in exploring the possibility of establishing a LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) plant in Sri Lanka. This was disclosed by Qatari Minister of Economy and Commerce, Ahmed bin Jassim bin Al Thani to the Minister Kabir Hashim, and the Chairman of the BoI, Upul Jayasuriya who visited Doha recently. The Minister of Economy and Commerce told Minister Hashim that more..

'Sri Lanka can tap African vehicle market'

May 18 (DN) Sri Lankan has tremendous potential to penetrate into the used vehicle export market especially for African countries. This will enable to remove all unroadworthy vehicles from local roads. Sri Lankan born top international used re-exporter Jagath Ramanayake said there is a big demand from several countries in the African continent to purchase vehicles used less that 10 years. This is an opportunity to penetrate into the export market in the African continent, more..

Sampath Group records Rs 2.3 b profit in Q1

May 18 (DN) Sampath Group recorded an impressive pre-tax profit of Rs 2,341 million, with a YoY growth of 32% for the Q1 ending March 31, in the backdrop of very challenging and volatile circumstances. Post–tax profit of the Group for the Q1 2015 was Rs 1,579 Mn, a growth of 23.7% as compared to Rs 1,277 Mn, achieved in the corresponding period in 2014. Sampath Bank, as the main entity of the Group also achieved a significant pretax profit growth of 28.5% in 1st quarter more..

Lanka lures lustre!

May 18 (FT) Undeterred by gloomy weather, city is tipped to glitter with the 16th global congress of the International Coloured Gemstone Association (ICA) kicking off in Colombo yesterday. The congress, which this year coincides with ICA’s 30th anniversary celebrations, saw a global cross-section of gem and jewellery industry professionals converge in Colombo to meet, discuss industry trends and share their expertise. more..

'Still don't know if mom, brother survived attack'

May 18 (ENS) Even six years after the Mullivaikkal massacre, I still cannot come out of the shock of losing my entire family,” says emotional S Suresh, a Sri Lankan refugee living in the State. The massacre witnessed the alleged killings of thousands of Tamils. Only a small number of people could escape during the war from Sri Lanka to India because the army had already blocked the escape routes. “When the war intensified in 2009, me and mother, father, sister & two brothers went to stay at a nearby more..

Reserves depletion moves closer to US$1B mark

May 18 (CT) Central Bank's foreign reserves have bled by nearly US$ one billion due to its defence of the rupee in the past eight months to April, 2015, statistics showed. As a result, US$ 824.51 million of taxpayers' money have been expended from CB's reserves during this period. Further, on account of these actions, CB's foreign reserves, which were on a near peak of US$ 9,185.64 million as at end August 2014, has since declined by US$ 1,752.65 million or by 19.1% to 7,432.99 million more..

TNA to intervene in Sampur matter

May 18 (DN) The TNA will file an intervening application against the suspension of the Gazette notification issued by the President releasing land to the people of Sampur. A three judge Bench of the Supreme Court on Friday rendered the Gazette notofication inoperative until May 21. The court suspended then gazette following a petition filed by SL Gateway Industries. Petitioner said the land was leased to them by the BoI. more..

SLC to improve knowledge of coaches

May 18 (DN) According to Sri Lanka Cricket Coaching Department, many forged cricket coaching certificates are in circulation in Sri Lanka over the recent times. While cricket is the most popular sport in the country this has resulted in many job opportunities opening up for cricket coaches who take to coaching seriously and have made it their careers. SLC Coaching Department have observed this thanks to some schools, clubs and working establishments taking trouble to check more..

'The Sinhale Flag is not a distortion of the National Flag'

May 18 (CT) Swarna Hansa Foundation said that the National Flag was one created by Parliament whereas the Sinhale Flag had been in use from the age of kings to the post-Independence period under then PM D.S. Senanayake. Swarna Hansa Foundation had been accused of distorting the National Flag by removing aspects of the flag which signified the minorities and of displaying it in public at a protest held recently in front of Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery more..

SLFP A’pura District organisation expresses displeasure with MS

May 18 (Island) SLFP Anuradhapura District Organisation passed two resolutions, one expressing displeasure with President Maithripala Sirisena for his decision to place 234 local govt institutions under special commissioners and the other calling for elections to the dissolved local authorities. Meeting was held with the participation of former minister and Chairman of the organization MP S.M. Chandrasena. more..

AMS-GMOA battle lines drawn?

May 18 (Island) A group of medical consultants who recently formed the Association of Medical Specialists (AMS) held its maiden media conference at the NHSL Consultant‘s Lounge on Saturday. AMS Media spokesman Dr. Asoka Gunaratne said that many consultants were not satisfied with the GMOA and until now it had not been able to duly maintain a register of specialists. The AMS had been formed to achieve two main objectives on behalf of all consultants, he said. more..

Umpire arrested during a match in Kandy

May 18 (DN) This may get into the Guinness Book of records as it as unprecedented on the history of sports when an officiating official was arrested during the match he was officiating and taken to the Police station for questioning. This happened yesterday during the all island schools under 13 boys girls hockey carnival organized by the SL Schools Hockey Association at Bogambara Stadium, Kandy. It happened this way, when hockey umpire D.J. Prakash was officiating in more..

HR Commissioner explains the law

May 18 (Island) Commissioner of SL Human Rights Commission Dr. Prathiba Mahanamahewa said PM Ranil Wickremesinghe made statements giving the impression that the judiciary was not independent while President Maithripala Sirisena had confirmed that there was an independent judiciary. He said so commenting on a statement made by PM that he would go before Commonwealth Judges’ Union etc to seek more..

I am eager to met MR in Court: Mangala

May 18 (DM) Claiming that he has received the letter of demand sent by former President Rajapaksa over his statement about the former first family’s asset, foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said he was ready to meet former President Rajapaksa at the Court. “The letter of demand with three pages sent by my former friend Mahinda Rajapakse requesting one billion rupees was received. I am eagerly waiting to meet him in Court and I have so many things to tell him,” more..

President says will correct mistakes done in the past

May 18 (SLBC) President Maithripala Sirisena has said that he will dedicate himself to establish a new political culture by rectifying the mistakes that have been done in the past in the political sector. He has emphasized that instead of creating representatives politics will be used in its maximum to build the nation. He said that people's representatives elected by the people should implement institutional policies and plans. Allocations will be made to them only for the common development of the country. more..

Gota Stay order: PM in pow-wow with legal experts

May 18 (DN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe will meet a group of eminent lawyers tonight to discuss the way forward on the Supreme Court stay order preventing the arrest of former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. At the meeting, the group will decide possible action the govt and the Police Department can take on the SC ruling which has now become a matter of contention. At the meeting tonight, lawyers will make a final decision on more..

Lessons for Lanka from the Jayalalithaa case

May 18 (DM) With the Sri Lankan govt also facing a legal crisis, the acquittal of Tamil Nadu’s former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram - who had been convicted and jailed on charges of illegally amassing hundreds of millions of dollars – may have repercussions in India and Sri Lanka. The Karnataka High Court Judge Justice C. R. Kumaraswamy on May 11 gave a ten-second judgment acquitting Ms. Jayalalithaa, about seven months after a Bangalore High Court Judge convicted her. more..

Many flaws that squandered military victory

May 18 (DM) The new govt has renamed the Victory Day as the Remembrance Day, and the main national event will be held tomorrow in Matara to commemorate those who died in multiple insurrections in the country. Victory Day celebrations held under the previous regime, rather than bringing the nation together, polarized it further. That was one example as to how the previous regime of Rajapaksa squandered the chances for reconciliation. more..

Prison Hospital: Can some get VIP status?

May 18 (DM) Prisoners too are human beings, is a very popular slogan that many passengers read passing the Welikada Prison in Colombo. Many are sentenced to prison because of a deliberate attempt to do a crime or any other corrupt activity that would claim a life or property. Since a society cannot expect criminals to be among other citizens they are being imprisoned for the safety of either party. more..

Weatherman warns of more rains

May 18 (ST) The Meteorology Department has warned of more thundershowers in the upcoming weeks with the threat of floods and earthslips occurring. Showers and thundershowers will occur in the Western, Sabaragamuwa, North Western and Southern Provinces during the day and at night with rainfall of more than 100 mm. expected. the sea area from Kankesanturai to Hambantota through Colombo and Galle will be rough with more..

A Jumbo issue

May 18 (SL) Investigations are underway over many individuals who had been keeping elephants illegally in their possession, yet similar incidents continue to surface. There have been serious allegations directed at some individuals for capturing elephant calves and keeping them in their possession with bogus registration documents. Ongoing raids and persecution on illegal possession of elephants have also raised agitation more..

Average income in 11 districts above national poverty line

May 18 (Island) Average income levels in 11 districts exceeded the national poverty line of Rs. 3,823 of April 2015. The national poverty line was Rs. 3,815 in March, Rs. 3,832 in Feb, Rs. 3, 924 in Jan, this year. The poverty line at national level is the minimum expenditure per person per month to fulfil basic needs. Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara districts in the Western Province rank highest above the poverty line more..

Research scientist raises kidney disease alarm for Jaffna farmers

May 18 (Island) Farmers in the Jaffna Peninsula were beginning to contract chronic renal failure due to constant and enhanced use of harmful agrochemicals, Kidney Disease Research Scientist Dr. Channa Jayasumana disclosed. Dr. Jayasumana said he had been to the Jaffna Peninsula on a fact finding mission the previous week and the CKD was spreading rapidly in that part of the country. more..

Stay order on full-face helmets extended

May 18 (AM) Appeals Court extended the interim injunction order against the ban on full face helmets till July 2. Police earlier decided to ban full face helmets with effect from March 21 in order to stop crimes and burglaries done by people covering their faces using full face helmets. However, following strong opposition from motorcyclists, ban was withdrawn on March 9, following instructions of Minister Amaratunga. more..