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Rape incident turns into a political row

May 23 (Hindu) A recent incident of rape and murder of an 18-year-old school girl in Pungudutivu of the Northern Province, which triggered violence on Wednesday in Jaffna, has now turned into a full-fledged political row among various parties. The girl, who went missing on May 13, was found dead a day later. Nine persons have been arrested so far. On Wednesday, barring one, all others were produced before a court in Jaffna; people who had gathered in the court complex went on rampage. more..

Video: 'No evidence to prove my guilt'

May 22 (DM) MP Dunmida Silva said today said there was no evidence to convict him of the murder of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra. Speaking at the end of the court hearing today, Mr. Silva said there were allegations against him but no evidence to support it. “This is a media circus and certain parties want to move the case forward. I know I am not guilty. The 19th Amendment was passed in parliament and more..

President instructs continue Colombo beautification

May 22 (GDI) President Sirisena instructed the officials to implement the beautification and maintaining process in the Colombo city and other urban areas without any backdrop. He stressed that it is compulsory to continue the concept of clean Colombo. President gave the advices when he met the relevant officers who are responsible for the programme at president's office yesterday. President added that if the relevant stakeholders live up-to their duties no issue would arise. more..

Pakistan Sri Lanka friendship has centuries old civilizational roots: Pak Envoy

May 22 (PHC) A group of 19 Cadets of the Sri Lankan National Cadet Corps hailing from all over the Island will be visiting Pakistan from 24 to 31 May 2015 on a bilateral exchange visit. The group will be headed by Major General Raja Guru and will also include 3 officers of the Sri Lankan Army. The delegation called on the High Commissioner of Pakistan in Sri Lanka Major General (R) Syed Shakeel Hussain at the High Commission of Pakistan today. more..

Post-war systemic breakdown blamed for Jaffna rape and mayhem

May 22 (ENS) Dr. Daya Somasundaram, Professor of Psychiatry at Jaffna University, blames the breakdown of traditional social and administrative structures for the gang rape and murder of 18 year old school girl, S. Vithya, at Pungudithivu on May 13, and the mayhem that engulfed Northern Province subsequently. Mobs burnt tyres on the streets, stoned the court and the police station, ordered hartals, and called for more..

City wide blackout averted with alternative arrangement

May 22 (Island) CEB engineers Wednesday evening managed to overcome an unusual technical problem in a transformer, a top official said. CEB Chairman, Anura Wijepala said that they were worried that the transformer would explode due to excessive heat. He added that such incidents were extremely rare but since they didn’t have spare transformers it was cause for grave concern and if the unforeseen had happened vital areas of Colombo would have been without power. more..

903 foreign nationals nabbed for violating visa requirements

May 23 (DM) As many as 903 foreign nationals were arrested last year in connection with their engagement in religious propaganda activities, employment and business after arrival in the country on tourist visa, Parliament was informed today. These persons were from countries such as Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, China, the United States of America, Britain, Canada , France, Germany, Egypt, France, Norway, Netherlands, Philippines, and Saudi Arabia. more..

Video: Committee to probe fraud and corruption in Ports Authority

May 23 (DM) Ports, Shipping and Aviation Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said today the ministry had decided to appoint a committee headed by President's Counsel, Nalin Ladduwahetty to probe fraud and corruption in the Ports Authority. He said the committee would look into whether any fraud or corruption had occurred in purchasing machinery and other equipment such as cranes and fork lifts and would submit a full report in 3 months. more..

Contours of a new Sri Lanka

May 23 (CT) I thank all of you for so graciously hosting me here today at the prestigious German Council on Foreign Relations. I have heard so much about your work as the premier network for foreign policy in Germany for well over 60 years. To be here at your institute on my first official visit to your great country as Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, is indeed an honour, and I have been overwhelmed by the warmth with which I have been received by everyone since my arrival on Wednesday. more..

Jaya needed for Tamils, TNA & Modi

May 23 (CT) Jayalalithaa’s long drawn out corruption case ended with a seemingly unexpected but heartening verdict for her. As the expected did not happen, her political enemies have ganged up in a rare unity demanding appeal to dethrone her. The anti-Jaya parties are pretty well aware of her massive popularity in Tamil Nadu. Jayalalithaa’s bold and charismatic leadership, which are all, lacking among the leaders of opposition parties. DMK Chief Karunanidhi who is a tainted more..

Electoral Reforms: Where are the women?

May 23 (SO) As the discussions and debates around the 20th Amendment and electoral reforms intensify, it is disappointing to note that there is no conversation flagging the abysmally low representation of women in Parliament (5.8% at present), nor any political will to introduce special measures to increase the number of women Parliamentarians. Despite promises in the manifesto of President Sirisena to bring in more..

Vithya's killing Symptom of a bruised society

May 23 (CT) Jaffna Public Library, Jaffna Central College, Police Station, Court Complex, and Veerasingham Hall which is the premier auditorium in Jaffna along with the Jaffna Teaching Hospital are situated in close proximity to the Jaffna Dutch Fort and those land mark buildings had suffered immensely as a result of heavy exchange of fire between the Security Forces and the Tamil militants until Jaffna was liberated from the LTTE in 1995. The Jaffna Court functioned temporarily more..

Parades, present and long past

May 23 (CT) Oh dearie me! We have had two parades commemorating 18/19 May – the day the LTTE was defeated by the armed forces in 2009. One parade called the day 'Victory Day' and was commemorated in Colombo in the Viharamaha Devi Park on 18 May – a breakaway celebration organized by an unknown group that styles itself National Movement to Safeguard Motherland. This Victory Day celebration was themed Protect the Motherland Liberated by Heroes and was more..

Medicine for electoral cure

May 23 (FT) Election System – Making Every Citizen a Winner is a series of proposals prepared by Dr. Namal Wijesinghe on a new election system. In an interview, Dr. Wijesinghe shared his views on the new system, which he says is ‘reasonable and justifiable to all sections of people and parties’. Q: Tell us about the series of proposals prepared by you on a new election system? A: These proposals on a new election system more..

Finding a path to true democracy in SL

May 23 (NS) Through historical narratives and human experiences mankind witnesses the shift from the power of one individual to a wider representational body. As colonial empires imposed draconian rules, it became impossible to govern the natives as the public believed in strengthening the representative system for their economic freedom and further political rights. Sri Lanka experienced historical political achievement with the passing of the 19th Amendment with more..

Sri Lankan strides in post-colonial Britain

May 23 (NS) The recent parliamentary elections in Britain saw the election of a UK citizen of Sri Lankan origin as a member to the British legislature. This piece of news made the front page news in many a newspaper in SL. Ranil Jayawardena MP from North East Hampshire who is of Sri Lankan paternity has certainly marked a ‘moment’ for Sri Lanka’s postcolonial journey. Interestingly, it was 200 years ago –in 1815 that the British Crown entered into the Kandyan Convention of 1815 more..

Drums & Dance: Emotions in motion

May 23 (SO) Two superbly skilled and gifted SL artistes will come together in Drums & Dance, a one of a kind performance that both energized and galvanizes percussion, music and dance at the Bishops College Auditorium on May 28. Veterans Rakitha Wickramaratne and Chandana Wickramasinghe are renowned professional artistes acclaimed and applauded locally and internationally for producing/staging novel recitals/concerts. more..

A choice between stability and virtue?

May 23 (Island) I start with a quote from Shang Yang (390-338 BC), an insightful statesman in the Chinese state of Qin: "A country where the virtuous govern the wicked will suffer from disorder, so that it will be dismembered; but a country where the wicked govern the virtuous will be orderly, so that it will become strong." Although this quote on governance is over 2300 years old, issues are still relevant. Jan Presidential election was fought as one between stability & good governance. more..

Editorial: Waiting for polls

May 23 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena’s recent statement that there will be a new govt in September has fuelled speculation in political circles that Parliament will be dissolved shortly. The UNP is in a mighty hurry to face a general election and the SLFP wants the 20th Amendment to the Constitution passed before the polls. Why the UNP is champing at the bit to contest a general election is understandable. It is obviously not keen on electoral reforms. more..

Govt allocates Rs.400 million to establish IT Labs in 2015

May 23 (GDI) Govt has taken steps to launch a programme to provide computer laboratories to selected schools around the country. The Information and Communication Technology Unit operating under the External Affairs Ministry will carry out this project around the country for which funds would be generated from local and foreign sources. Every IT laboratory will be equipped with 10 desktop computers, printers, scanners, more..

Vadamarachchi: Was President JR a traitor?

May 23 (Island) Several questions arose in my mind while reading the opening paragraphs of K.M. de Silva’s Sri Lanka and the Defeat of the LTTE (2012). In May 1987 the armed forces led by General Cyril Ranatunge routed the LTTE at Vadamarachchi, and Prabhakaran together with some of his top associates fled in disarray to Tamil Nadu where they were accommodated by the regional government. General Ranatunge had planned to proceed thereafter to Jaffna town and its environs, but more..

The political economy of change

May 23 (ST) Political uncertainties and economic confusion characterised the first four months of this year. Uncertainty of what lies ahead after a parliamentary election will slow down economic growth in 2015 to 6.5% or below compared to the 7.4% achieved in 2014. Does this mean that 2015 is a lost year for the economy? The cutback in govt investment in infrastructure, much of which was funded by foreign debt, is one reason for the decline in economic growth. more..

Clean up op, her mission

May 23 (ST) Throughout the ceremony to mark the assumption of duty by the new Public Trustee, this is the message that was resonating over and over again and this is what the new incumbent is determined to do. There is no ambiguity and her convictions are obvious, when we meet Attorney Tharangani Disanayake the next day, the first woman to head this august department established in 1929. more..

SL A wobble after Pakistan A amass 580

May 23 (CI) Fifties from middle-order batsman Ali Asad and wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal helped Pakistan A extend their dominance over Sri Lanka A into the third day of the third unofficial Test in Dambulla, as they amassed a first-innings total of 580 for 8 declared. Udara Jayasundera's fifty helped Sri Lanka A wipe away 119 runs from their deficit, leaving them trailing by 188 runs at the end of the day. Asad resumed his innings on the third morning from an overnight score of 31 more..

Can SL contribute to the global electronics industry in design & manufacturing?

May 23 (ST) Technology consumers: How would you rate Sri Lankan’s familiarity with world technological trends? We were first in the South Asian region to introduce 3G, 3.5G and then 4G. Mobile phone subscription exceeds the country population. The majority is quite familiar with mobile reloads and sending SMSs. Latest models of all brands of laptops, tablets, Apple iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy can be purchased here. How about other consumer electronics items? more..

Rumeshika, Wijekoon make it to Asian Championship team

May 23 (Island) St. Joseph’s Balika, Kegalle sprinter Rumeshika Ratnayake and men’s 1,500 metres record holder Chaminda Wijekoon are among six new athletes included in the Sri Lanka team for the forthcoming Asian Athletics Championships. Sprinter Ratnayake, 1,500 metres runner K.S. Somawardena, Wijekoon and relay team members Shehan Ambepitiya, Mohamed Rajaskhan and M.I.M. Ashrof are the new additions more..

Private sector steps up borrowing

May 23 (FT) The private sector of the Industry and Services segments has stepped up borrowing in March, helped by the continuation of a low interest rate regime, the Central Bank revealed yesterday. It said that following a reduction in policy rates in April 2015, market interest rates had adjusted downwards as expected. The continuation of the low interest rate regime had induced demand for bank credit from the private sector. As a result, the Central Bank said credit obtained by the private sector more..

Govt to get the EU ban on fish exports lifted

May 23 (GDI) The govt is to take measures to strengthen the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development in order to get the ban imposed by the European Commission on fish exports from Sri Lanka lifted immediately. It has been noted that Sri Lanka has lost a market of approximately US$ 100 million due to the ban on importing fisheries products from Sri Lanka enacted by the European Union in October 2014. The ban went into effect from January 2015. more..

Sri Lankan transport delegation visit Tokyo

May 23 (FT) Minister of Internal Transport Ranjith Madduma Bandara and a delegation participated at the Japanese Forum for Global Property Innovation and had a bilateral discussion with his counterpart, Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan Akihiro Ohta, among others. Bandara and the delegation were invited by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport & Tourism (MLITT). more..

Jayasuriya, Mahanama to play for charity

May 23 (EK) Retired Sri Lankan cricketers Sanath Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahanama have expressed willingness to play a charity cricket match in aid for the victims of Nepal earthquake. Malaysian cricket board is organising the charity match between Nepal and World XI in yet to be decided date. Cricket Association of Nepal had already approved to play in the event which will be played at the Kinrara Oval in Kuala Lumpur. Jayasuriya tweeted: “I joined World XI to #HelpNepal in Malaysia more..

Luxurious colonial hotel where history is hidden in the staircase

May 23 (DM) In 1640, the Dutch captured Sri Lanka's second city, Galle, from the hands of the Portuguese. Some 2,500 men stormed the the fort, which, today regains its beautiful Dutch architectural style, and is one of the islands most visited attractions. Perched above the crashing waves of Sri Lankan south, its charming cobbled streets contain colourful shops and classy restaurants. But at the Jetwing Lighthouse, arguably Galle's prettiest and most serene accommodation, more..

Cost, a bone of contention in housing projects

May 23 (Hindu) Even as the Indian government-funded housing programme in Northern Province progresses at its own pace, the issue of adequacy of financial assistance has cropped up among several beneficiaries. A cross section of beneficiaries, be they in Jaffna or Kilinochchi or Mullaitivu district, feel that the amount of Rs. 5.5 lakh, given in the form of grant, is not adequate, given the increase in the cost of more..

19 Lankan cadets undertake tour of Pakistan

May 23 (Island) A group of 19 Cadets of the National Cadet Corps hailing from all over the Island will be visiting Pakistan from May 24 to 31 on a bilateral exchange visit. The group will be headed by Major General Chandana Rajaguru and will also include three officers of the Sri Lankan Army. The delegation called on the High Commissioner of Pakistan in Sri Lanka Major General (R) Syed Shakeel Hussain at the Pakistan Commission yesterday. While, briefing the delegation, more..

Vithya’s rape-murder: CJ, IGP visit Jaffna

May 23 (CT) Chief Justice K. Sripavan and Inspector General of Police N.K. Illangakoon visited Jaffna yesterday and assessed damages caused to the Jaffna Courts Complex by angered anti-rape mobs on Wednesday over the brutal rape-murder of 18-year-old school girl S.Vithya of the Punkuduthivu Maha Vidyalam, on 13 May. They were welcomed on arrival at the complex by members of the Bar Association of Jaffna. CJ Sripavan was taken on an inspection tour of the complex by Judges more..

Multi-million dollar Swiss property deal: Foreign sleuths monitoring local politico

May 23 (CT) A powerful political personality in Sri Lanka is to purchase a property in Switzerland. A powerful politician in Colombo is negotiating the purchase a multi-million dollar property in Switzerland. It is reported that this politician has held several rounds of talks last month with the prospective seller to finalize the price, mode of transfer and other details. The entire deal has been monitored by Lankan & foreign sleuths more..

India-Lanka business dialogue in July

May 23 (MO) The India-Ceylone Economic Dialogue (ICED) will be held in Kochi in July. The business meet was devised following the visit of PM Narendra Modi to Sri Lanka. The B2B dialogue is being supported by the Ceylone Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Kerala Bureau of Industrial promotion. The aim of the meet is to do away with middlemen, allowing industrialists in India and Sri Lanka to deal directly with each other. more..

Award first brings pride and honour to SL

May 23 (OPP) Real estate company Blue Mountain, the first Sri Lanka business to receive a five-star Asia Pacific Property Award, has hailed the achievement as “a historic victory that brought pride and honour to our nation.” Blue Mountain Properties won the Property Consultancy Marketing’ category in the 2015/16 awards presented in Malaysia for its innovative take on the concept of gated community living. Blue Mountain, Group Chairman, Dr Hiran Hettiarachchi, who received the award says, more..

Dilan decries sorry situation in country

May 23 (Island) The entire SLFP was responsible for having paved the way for a dictatorial UNP govt as the party Central Committee had decided to go for a President Election two years ahead, former minister Dilan Perera said Thursday. MP Perera said that even President Maithripala Sirisena was responsible for it as he, too, endorsed the Central Committee decision as the then General Secretary of the party. more..

Colombo 5 uniflow zone to ease traffic

May 23 (CT) The Police Department yesterday introduced a special traffic plan for Colombo 5 effective between the hours of 4:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. According to them, this uniflow traffic plan will be effective on weekdays in order to ease traffic congestion prevailing in the Colombo 05 area. Accordingly, vehicles accessing the area from Baseline Road and travelling to Havelock Road via Park Road will have to use Park Lane, enter Isipathana Mawatha and move onwards. more..

'MR behind subversive SLFP elements'

May 23 (CT) Minister of Ports and Shipping, Arjuna Ranatunga stated yesterday that subversive elements within the SLFP are intentionally trying to divide the party, while the main architect of that plot is former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Ranatunga added that "former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is hungry for power. His political behaviour is destroying the SLFP. He and a group of racist minded politicians are trying to stoke racist sentiments in a bid to come back to power. more..