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Malaysian PM's Special Envoy calls on President Sirisena

May 21 (GDI) A high level team of Malaysian entrepreneurs headed by PM’s Special Envoy Datu Seri Vellu called on President Sirisena and expressed interest in major joint ventures and investments in several areas. Team expressed interest in large-scale joint ventures such as Colombo unirail project, Colombo-Kandy Highway construction and laying an oil pipeline from Colombo to Katunayake to supply aviation fuel. more..

Sri Lanka announces plans for new convention centre

May 21 (MP) Sri Lanka has unveiled plans for a third large-scale convention centre as it sets out to achieve its vision of becoming Asia's darling for meetings and events. Sri Lanka Convention Bureau says land has been secured for the centre outside Colombo, and that construction should be completed within three years. Sri Lanka currently has a 1500-capacity convention centre and a smaller one that can house 300 attendees, both in Colombo. Speaking at IMEX Frankfurt this week, more..

'Political hand behind train service disruption'

May 21 (DN) Railway Service Trade Union (RSTU) Secretary Nihal Gunaratne said they have unearthed a plot by certain politically motivated elements within the Department to disrupt the country's train service. The RSTU Secretary said that supporters of the previous regime still holding responsible positions at the Railway Department were trying to disrupt train services with the intention of gaining political advantage at the next general election. "As a govt dedicated to maintaining good governance more..

Basil files FR petition

May 21 (DM) Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa today has filed a fundamental rights petition in the Supreme Court seeking an interim order directing the Kaduwela Magistrate to release him from remand custody. In his petition filed through Counsel Sanath Wijewardane, Mr. Rajapaksa cited 45 persons including the ministers of cabinet, police chief N.K. Ilangakoon and the Attorney General as respondents. more..

Former Media Minister granted bail

May 21 (Island) Colombo Chief Magistrate, yesterday granted bail to former Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, former Director General Chandrapala Liyanage and former Chairman Wimalasena Rupasinghe of Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation. They were produced in courts for purchasing a stock of galvanized pipes and causing a loss of Rs. 900,000 to Rupavahini. Bail was in Rs. 50,000 cash for each accused and two sureties of Rs. 2.5 million for each of the accused. more..

130 people remanded over Jaffna clash

May 21 (CG) The Jaffna Magistrate today remanded 130 people till June 3 over the violence which erupted in Jaffna yesterday. The police had arrested the people following violent protests in Jaffna and also seized 60 motorbikes, 43 bicycles and 5 three-wheelers. Those arrested had taken part in the protest outside the Jaffna court over the rape and murder of a school girl in Jaffna. The protestors were demanding the suspects be handed over to them. more..

Business community stages hartal in North

May 21 (DM) The business community in the North staged a hartal today to protest against the alleged rape and killing of 18-year-old Pungudutivu Maha Vidyalaya student in Jaffna. Shops in Vavuniya, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Jaffna Districts put up shutters and the businessmen joined the hartal campaign. Three wheeler operators in the Vavuniya and Jaffna districts also joined the hartal. They urged the authorities to bring to book more..

Resigned ministers rejected Maithri’s principles: UNP

May 21 (DM) UNP MP and Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera said the four SLFP ministers who resigned today had done so to join hands with former president Rajapaksa by rejecting the principles upheld by President Sirisena. He said he respected the right of MPs to accept ministerial portfolios or to resign and wished them well. “Those who didn’t contribute to President Sirisena’s victory and didn’t understand his principles may have issues when working together with this govt. more..

Three UPFA MPs fear arrest for action against CIABOC DG

May 21 (Island) Three UPFA MPs Mohan Priyadarshana de Silva, Ranjith de Zoysa and Janaka Wakkumbura on Wednesday complained to the Deputy Speaker that the govt was planning to arrest them for making a complaint against the Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe. Raising a privilege issue the MPs said they had been asked to be present at the CIABOC to make statements on more..

Video: Four SLFP Ministers resign

May 21 (AD) SLFP MPs Dilan Perera, C.B. Rathnayake, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and Pavithra Wanniarachchi have resigned from their respective ministerial portfolios. Perera announced their decision at a press conference held in Colombo this morning. Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, State Minister of Housing and Samurdhi Dilan Perera, State Minister of Public Administration and more..

'Wilpattu issue no threat to national security'

May 21 (DN) Wilpattu land issue has not posed any threat to the national security of Sri Lanka, President Maithripala Sirisena declared. The land belonging to the Forest Department had been alienated under the directions of a task force appointed by the previous regime. The President said that the trees in state land are the property of the Forest Department but in this case the Task Force had authorised the occupants of the land to clear the jungles. The on-going clearing had been stopped and more..

Law Faculty Dean rescued from angry mob Navy and Army to the rescue

May 21 (CT) Dean of the Colombo Law Faculty V.T. Tamilmaran was surrounded by residents in Punkudutivu accusing him of helping one of the ten suspects involved in the brutal murder of Sivaloganathan Vithya. He was rescued from angry residents by Army and Navy personnel on Tuesday. Tamilmaran who hails from Punkudutivu had gone there to assess the situation, as one of the suspects accused in the murder is said to be known to him. Suspect who had returned from Switzerland more..

Sri Lankan peace keeping troops conclude UN mission in Haiti

May 21 (SLA) The formal conclusion of the Sri Lankan Peace Keeping contingent assignment in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) took place at the SL Peace Keeping Contingent (SRIBAT) Headquarters in Leogane, Haiti on Saturday. Sri Lankan contingent, mainly comprised of Army personnel, as one of the longest serving foreign missions in Haiti after undertaking responsibilities way back in 2004, more..

Robust outbursts of legislators

May 22 (NS) I was compelled to watch the above dialog in one of those infamous and most disgusting segment of a news telecasts, What the politicians say…, while marking time at a funeral of a war hero’s father, on the day after 19A was passed in the House by the Diyawanna. Listening to proceedings, one would get the idea that the place was infested with more amphibian diya-bariyas than cobras or rat-snakes; I was perturbed, listening to verbal diarrhea of some of our legislator’s. more..

Devolution: Media in provinces

May 22 (CT) Access to media, its determination for news and information, is an added advantage, a plus more, in promoting progress in the provinces. The ability of its readership to comprehend, divergence in views related to development has to be understood by media owners and the society in general in the provinces. To mention devolution and not understand the validity of media presentation, will only lead to derelict performances of stake holders. more..

Just remember: the lives lost and the devastation of a 30-year-war

May 22 (SO) A student of history could deduce that Sri Lanka’s South has a reason to celebrate the achievements in the thirty- year war. One could also say that some of the youth in the North in a bid to achieve their cause, brought about untold misery and mayhem to the South. Just to name a few, the Aranthalawa incident, Sri Maha Bodhi, sacred temple of the tooth and Central Bank. Terrorists used bombs, suicide bombers and more..

Issues concerning judiciary: MS & RW should take the full responsibility

May 22 (CT) Now, various statements are appearing in both electronic and print media, criticizing the Judges in the Superior Courts for bias. I believe that this approach simply shows lack of foresight on the part of the new regime. In my view, without blaming any, MS RW regime should blame only them for lack of coherence. New regime has already betrayed the people, as the 19th amendment expressly permitted the judges in the superior courts to hold office and continue to exercise & discharge the powers more..

Only realism, truth and justice can lead us to peace

May 22 (SL) The 18th of May 2015 will be commemorated by all Sri Lankans as a turning point in the history of relations between the Sinhalese and the Tamils. The end of the war between the Sri Lankan govt and the LTTE meant two entirely different things with different rationale to justify their actions. For the Govt it was a victory over Tamil terrorism, end of a war and beginning of peace. But for the Tamils it was the culmination of another mass massacre of militants and civilians and more..

'Regional cooperation a cornerstone of our Foreign Policy'

May 22 (DN) Ambassador Daniel Carmon who is concurrently accredited to India and Sri Lanka, and based in New Delhi, was here recently to strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries and to celebrate Israel's 67th National Day. Q: Sri Lanka and Israel maintain cordial diplomatic relations from the past. Was your stay in Colombo successful in strengthening the ties between the countries even further? more..

Nationalism and Patriotism: A withering line!

May 22 (NS) Much discussion has been on these two contentious notions of Nationalism and Patriotism, ever since the nation states came into being as a political arrangement. End of Cold War which dissolved the old political allegiances and alliances exacerbated by the impacting trends of globalization, created new security scars especially for smaller states. Infamous 9/11 atrocities paved the way for a new world (dis)order as Huntingtonian axiom of a clash of civilizations, more..

Judgment on Gota’s FR: A setback to govt

May 22 (CT) It was the Judiciary which gave strength to Chandrika to end Ranil Wickremesinghe's Govt in 2004. When the 18(a) Constitutional Amendment which barred Chandrika from dissolving Parliament after one year went before the Supreme Court, the then Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva and the bench halted it stating that a referendum was needed in addition to the two thirds majority in Parliament for that purpose. As a result, Ranil's Govt fell. more..

'Cooperatives are corrupt'

May 22 (CT) Minister of Food Security, Gamini Jayawickrema Perera is a champion of the cooperatives, which he calls the economic nervous system of the country. It is at this level that the poor invests, saves and trades and not surprisingly this is the least known sector in the country. In the past, politicians and trade unions alike have done their best to keep the cooperatives politicized, corrupt and powerless, so that more..

Distorted perspectives of governance

May 22 (Island) The reason for the disenchantment with the Presidential system was because of the misguided belief that the system provides opportunities for the Executive branch to engage in unilateral activities independent of other branches of Govt. This is incorrect. For instance, the non-Executive branch of Govt is expected to monitor and oversee Executive action. If they DO NOT exercise their due responsibilities, the non-Executive branch should be held as responsible & accountable more..

Commercial Credit’s Rs1B Debenture oversubscribed

May 22 (CT) Commercial Credit and Finance PLC's issue of 10 million rated, subordinated, guaranteed, redeemable five-year Debentures at a par value of LKR 100/- each has been oversubscribed on opening day. Interest on the Debentures will be paid at a fixed rate of 10.50% per annum (AER 10.92%) on the Principal Sum quarterly each year. The Issue opened on Thursday 21 May 2015. Chief Operating Officer of Commercial Credit and Finance PLC Rajiv Casie Chitty said, more..

Sri Lanka small businesses not benefiting from tax breaks: study

May 22 (EN) Most Sri Lankan small and medium enterprises (SMEs) do not benefit from tax concessions granted by government, according to a new study which recommends a more effective and friendly tax policy. The prevailing fiscal incentive structure - tax exemptions and concessions - is largely skewed in favour of large enterprises, according to the findings of the study by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) of Sri Lanka. more..

Hayleys Group posts Rs 4.9b profit

May 22 (DN) Hayleys PLC closed its financial year ending March 2014/15 on a high, consolidating the growth momentum generated over past years. The group reported a 32 percent increase in Profit After Tax (PAT), to close the year with Rs. 4.9 billion. Sector wise contribution was led by the Hand Protection Sector, showing strong recovery from a challenging period, supported by investments in new production facilities and expansions. The Hand Protection sector will add additional capacity more..

Editorial: Jaffna mayhem

May 22 (Island) It was with shock and dismay that everyone received the news of the killing of a schoolgirl in the North the other day. Angry mobs wreaked havoc in Jaffna on Wednesday, demanding that the suspected murderers be either handed over to them for lynching or summarily executed inside the police station where they were being held. Their consternation is understandable. What we have just witnessed in Jaffna is typical of Sri Lankans who want justice hurried. more..

Troubled CIFL Directors write to Central Bank Cabraal ignored our revival proposals

May 22 (CT) The remaining Directors of troubled Central Investments and Finance PLC (CIFL) in a scathing attack, alleged that the former Central Bank Governor Ajit Nivard Cabraal ignored all the revival proposals which were put forward by them in 2013. Four remaining Non Executive Directors of CIFL, Lakshman Rupasinghe, P.V. Pathirana, D.J.D. Jayakody and H.G.A.P. Samarasinghe, in a letter to the Central Bank more..

Given current scenario, 7% GDP growth for 2015 is good enough: CB

May 22 (Island) GDP growth is expected to be around 7% this year while inflation will be around 3%, Mahinda Siriwardana, Director of Economic Research, Central Bank said recently. He stated this while giving a public lecture titled, The State of the Economy as reflected in the Central Bank Annual Report 2014 at the Centre for Banking Studies where govt spending, foreign investment, net exports, aggregate demand and consumption were also discussed. more..

Reaching qualifying standards not enough to represent Sri Lanka: Sugath

May 22 (Island) The athletes striving to reach IAAF World Youth Championship qualifying standards at the forthcoming Junior Nationals will have to go beyond the set standards if they are to make the trip to Colombia in July. Sugath Thilakaratne, the newly elected president of the Athletics Association of Sri Lanka said that reaching qualifying standards would not be enough to make the trip. He was responding to a query at a press conference to announce the Junior National Athletics Championships more..

Northern Governor praises sensible police action in Jaffna

May 22 (Island) Northern Province Governor H.M.G.S. Palihakkara said that had there been any lapse on the part of Jaffna law enforcement authorities, violence triggered by the brutal killing of 18-year-old schoolgirl Vinita would have caused a major crisis in the peninsula. He said that the Jaffna police had acted swiftly and decisively to bring the situation under control, though reasonable force was used against the unruly mob. more..

Masood, Amin tons drive Pakistan A to lead

May 22 (CI) Umar Amin and Shan Masood hit contrasting centuries to give Pakistan A a strong lead against Sri Lanka A on the second day of their third unofficial Test in Dambulla. The two added 204 runs for the second wicket after Pakistan lost opener Khurram Manzoor in the first over of the day, bowled by Lahiru Gamage, bringing the visitors to within 49 runs of Sri Lanka A's first-innings total. Amin was the one to depart, but not before he had hit his 11th first-class century. more..

Cathay Pacific ends deal with Finlays

May 22 (FT) Given the strong and sustained growth in Sri Lanka, Cathay Pacific has decided to shift to self-handling operations in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. The move will result in the termination of the General Sales Agency (GSA) agreement with Finlays Plc. The global carrier said internationally it has moved away from GSA arrangements for online ports and the GSAs in Sri Lanka and the Maldives are some of the few remaining online ports in the network. more..

Failed SL refugee claimant gets reprieve

May 22 (VS) A Sri Lankan man who arrived in B.C. aboard the cargo ship MV Sun Sea in the summer of 2010 and claimed refugee protection for fear of political prosecution has been granted a judicial review of his case in his fight to remain in Canada. Federal Court Justice James O’Reilly granted the review to Packiyakumar Pathmanathan after a panel of the Immigration and Refugee Board previously dismissed the man’s claim, more..

Remembrance Day celebrated in Washington

May 22 (AT) The Ambassador and the staff of the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington D.C. marked the sixth anniversary of the end of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka and the War Heroes Remembrance Day on May 19th, 2015, by observing a minute of silence followed by a ceremony. In his remarks at this event, the Ambassador recalled the national commemoration of the War Heroes Remembrance Day, which was held in Matara. The significance of this year’s national commemoration lay in more..

'National policy needed for resettlement'

May 22 (AM) JVP Politburo Member and WPC Member K.D. Lalkantha pointed out that there is a serious need for a national policy on resettlement and land issues. Taking part in Balaya political talk show on Hiru TV last evening, he said that if people in Wilpattu have been settled in illegally cleared lands, it could affect these people directly. Meanwhile, the environment system is being affected by any resettlement in the area, he also pointed out. more..

Now hiring: New CEO, CCO for SriLankan

May 22 (FT) SriLankan Airlines is looking for a fulltime Chief Executive Officer and Chief Commercial Officer, either nationals or non-nationals, with proven track records. National Carrier last week advertised the vacancy, which felt vacant following the resignation of Kapila Chandrasena, after taking up duties in August 2011. Board Director Rakhitha Jayawardena, an airline industry specialist, is overseeing in the interim period. more..

Modi’s Bodhi diplomacy to see a Buddhist centre in Delhi

May 22 (TOI) The Capital will soon have a centre for Buddhist learning and worship as an extension of PM Narendra Modi's larger outreach towards the religion. The move comes just days after Modi's trip to China where he visited the Wild Goose Pagoda, a shrine built to commemorate Chinese monk Huen Tsang's visit to India in 645 AD. Modi has, in fact, visited Buddhist shrines in several foreign countries, including Mongolia, Sri Lanka and Japan. Absence of a centre for Buddhist studies came up in more..

India may offer credit for building houses in land released by Sri Lankan Army

May 22 (Hindu) India, which is funding the construction of 50,000 houses for internally-displaced Tamils in Sri Lanka, may offer a line of credit, this time for building houses in lands released by the Army from the high security zones. Indicating this, D.M. Swaminathan, Sri Lankan Minister for Resettlement, Reconstruction and Hindu Religious Affairs, said the matter was discussed during his recent meeting with Sujatha Mehta, Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs. more..

Four SLFP ministers quit in high dudgeon

May 22 (Island) Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, State Minister of Housing and Samurdhi Dilan Perera, State Minister of Environment Pavithra Wanniarachchi and State Minister of Public Administration and Democratic Rule C.B. Ratnayake quit their ministerial portfolios yesterday. They sent a letter to President Maithripala Sirisena informing him of their decision yesterday afternoon. more..