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Singapore appoints Indian-origin man as envoy to Sri Lanka

May 28 (PTI) Singapore has appointed an Indian- origin businessman as its non-Resident High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, the Foreign Ministry announced. S Chandra Das served as Singapore's Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey, resident in Singapore, from 2006 to 2015. He had also previously served as Singapore's Trade Representative from 1970 to 1972 in the USSR, the former Soviet Union. Das was a Member of Parliament from 1980 to 1996 and is currently more..

SLFP assures all sitting UPFA MPs will get nominations

May 28 (Island) The SLFP yesterday announced that it would field all sitting UPFA MPs and their electoral organisers at the forthcoming general election. Addressing the media, SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa assured that there were no dissidents in the alliance contrary to claims being made by the UNP. "We will give nominations to all MPs and electoral organisers currently not in Parliament before selecting the new candidates," he said. more..

Kotakethana killing: Three accused acquitted

May 28 (DM) The three accused who were charged with the killing of a mother and her daughter at Kotakethana in July 2012 were acquitted by Colombo High Court Judge Devika Livers De Tennakoon today. Judge released the three suspects Namal Silva, Sisira Priyankara alias Mithila and Lokugam Hewage Nushara and acquitted them on all charges over the killing of U.D. Premawathie (63) and her daughter more..

Johnston Fernando released on bail

May 28 (AM) UPFA MP Johnston Fernando was released on bail a short while ago by the Kurunegala High Court. He was arrested by police Financial Crimes Investigations Division on May 5 after his arrival at FCID to give a statement on complaints of financial fraud at Lak Sathosa. Fernando had allegedly been involved in a financial fraud at Lak Sathosa, amounting to more than Rs. 5 million. He was in remand custody after his arrest. However, the AG Department did not raise objections to more..

SL doctor faces trial over husband’s death

May 28 (AAP) A DOCTOR accused of murdering her husband during a domestic dispute in Western Australia’s Mid West region will stand trial in November. Chamari Liyanage, 34, has pleaded not guilty to killing her husband, Dinedra Athukorala, who was also a doctor at Geraldton Health Campus. Dr Athukorala, who is understood to have been from Sri Lanka, could not be resuscitated after police found him injured at a Shenton St property on June 24, 2014. more..

New committee to study port city project

May 28 (IANS) The govt said it has appointed a fresh committee to study the possibility of continuing a multi-million-dollar port city project in Colombo. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that a proposal had been made by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to the cabinet this week to appoint a committee of high ranking officials to consider the ability of permitting the continuation of the project which has remained suspended since March. more..

Shashi sends sick note to FCID

May 28 (DM) Shashi Weerawansa, the wife of MP Wimal Weerawansa, who was asked to report to the FCID today, did not turn up saying that she was not well. She had sent a sick note supported by a medical certificate through her attorney requesting for a later date to appear at the FCID to give a statement. ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said Ms. Weerawansa had been asked to report to the FCID over allegations of unlawful acquisition of assets both by herself and her husband. more..

'I don’t think Mahinda is mentally retarded'

May 28 (AM) Mahinda Rajapaksa will lose his privileges as a former President, if he contests at the next general election, minister Rajitha Senaratne affirmed. “I don’t think the former President is mentally retarded to take such a decision. Rajapaksa will loss his privileges, if he contests at the election and become a Parliamentarian,” he said. He also went on to say that the Cabinet on Wednesday held a lengthy discussion on the 20th Amendment to the Constitution. more..

SL-Pakistan want to triple trade to US$ 1 bln

May 28 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka and Pakistan want to triple their bilateral trade to US$ 1 billion and increase engagement on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries. Pakistan is fast-tracking work with new vigor to reach the US$ 1 billion mark in bilateral trade, the new Pakistani High Commissioner to Colombo Major General (Rtd.) Syed Shakeel Hussain told the Sri Lankan Minister Rishad Bathiudeen. more..

I was not allowed to work freely: Vijayamuni

May 28 (DM) UPFA MP Vijith Wijayamuni Zoysa said that he was not allowed to work freely in the Wildlife Ministry as its subject minister, and that everything was done by former minister Basil Rajapaksa. “I was not allowed to work in the wildlife ministry as I wanted. But I was blamed when a farmer or an elephant calf died. The main road in Bibile was not carpeted in order to spite me,” he said. It was a pity that racketeers who carried out massive illegal land grabs got away more..

Sri Lanka sells US$ 338mn in 1 and 2 year dollar bonds

May 28 (EN) Sri Lanka sold 338 million dollars in 1 year 1 month and 2 years 11 month Sri Lanka Development Bonds at yields lower than the last auction. Central bank offered 100 million in Sri Lanka Development Bonds. For the 1 year 1 month bonds it accepted 329 million dollars worth of bids after getting bids of up to 359 million dollars at a Weighted Average Margin (bps) over 6 month LIBOR of 316.69 bps. At the last SLDB auction on April 30 the two year bonds were sold more..

Govt compensates families of migrant workers

May 28 (CG) In a solemn ceremony held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today, Minister Mangala Samaraweera handed over compensation and salary dues totaling Rupees 50 million to the family members of 33 deceased Sri Lankan migrant workers who had been employed in the Middle East and in Malaysia. Funds handed over today were secured in consultation with and through the intervention of Sri Lanka’s Embassies in more..

'Japan partner in Colombo modernization programs'

May 28 (DN) Japanese govt has been a great partner in modernizing and development programs implemented in the Colombo City of Sri Lanka, said Colombo Mayor A J M Muzammil. He made this observation yesterday at a ceremony held to hand over a fleet of fire engines and fire fighting equipment valued at Rs 400 million to the Colombo Municipal Council Fire Service Department by the Japanese Govt. Japanese Ambassador Nobuhito Hobo handed over the fire engines and other more..

'What happened to Vithiya can happen to anyone’

May 28 (Island) Citizens for a Secure Sri Lanka together with the Girl Guides Association told the media that the brutal gang rape, abduction and killing of Vithiya Sivaloganandan should be considered a grave crime committed against all women and children living in the country irrespective of race, religion and other factors as it could happen to any child, woman the next day due to lack of attention by the law enforcement authorities and judicial system. more..

Students gripe over exam mess-up

May 28 (CT) Final year students at the Sri Lanka Law College wrote to Chief Justice K. Sripavan and members of the incorporated Council of Legal Education regarding discrepancies and irregularities pertaining to the Final Year Examination held in October 2014. The aggrieved students stated that these irregularities in conducting the examinations and changes of an arbitrary nature made with regards to marks, results of which more..

TNA not against development: Selvarasa

May 28 (CT) TNA MP P. Selvarasa said, his party is not against development. TNA was in support of development during the past regime and is supporting development under the present regime. He further stated that unfortunate incidents have been taking place in the North and East even after the war ended six years ago. "All three communities were saddened by the rape and murder of a schoolgirl in Punguduthivu. During last govt political parties held protests & demonstrations. more..

Kolonnawa garbage dump Residents to file FR petition in SC

May 28 (CT) The People's Movement against the Kolonnawa Garbage Mountain will be filing a fundamental rights petition in the Supreme Court against the CMC and the govt in view of protecting houses in the Meethotamulla area from being demolished and preventing more garbage being dumped. The PM's Office has granted residents and the Movement a meeting following a recent protest which was dispersed by force by the Police who utilized water cannons against the protesters, more..

JVP Leader Anura Kumara Disanayake

Reply to Emil van der Poorten’s allegations

May 29 (CT) Reference your undated letter addressed to me with the above title. I have obtained a detailed report from the Director General of the Rubber Development Department on the contents of your above mentioned letter. According to the report provided by the Director General with relevant supporting documents, and the information I have gathered from the officers attended to the aforesaid function, I regret to inform you that the contents of your letter more..

Editorial: Needed: Pest control

May 29 (Island) 19th Amendment is now law and the stage is currently being set for the presentation of the 20th Amendment to Parliament to introduce electoral reforms. With time running out for the government which is desperate to seek a popular mandate at a general election to consolidate its power some political observers argue that the fate of the 20th Amendment is in the balance. But, President Maithripala Sirisena, who does not want to antagonise SLFP by dissolving Parliament more..

3 key officers of RADA to be arrested shortly

May 29 (SO) The Police Special Investigations Unit probing alleged shady transactions of the Reconstruction and Development Agency (RADA) where Rs.124 to Rs.169 million of State assets believed to have been stolen or transferred to the LTTE and other parties, is expected to arrest three key suspects shortly, authoritative sources said. Last week, the SIU was on the verge of arresting MP Tiran Alles more..

Buddhist education in Sri Lanka – Analysis

May 29 (EAR) The rich and sophisticated history of Sri Lanka spanning an approximation of two thousand five hundred years owes much of its origins to Buddhism. Though the country’s indigenous history dates back much further, it is commonly and persuasively argued that the ascend to a well organized and spiritually informed life in the island was marked with the introduction of Buddhism in 3rd century B.C.E. During its very lengthy life span in island, Buddhism has successfully more..

Should agro-chemicals be banned?

May 29 (CT) The term agro-chemical refers to a variety of chemical substances, and includes fertilizers, and pesticides (insecticides, herbicides (weedicides), fungicides, nematicides) etc. They came into widespread use and prominence with the advent of modern agriculture i.e. the green revolution. Media in Sri Lanka (print and electronic) has been agog recently with calls to ban various agro-chemicals. Sadly, those making the biggest noise, appear to be the least informed more..

'LTTE will not rise again'

May 29 (CT) Deputy Minister of Women's Affairs Vijayakala Maheswaran says that certain people are spreading rumours that she helped the main suspect in Vithya's rape and murder case get released from police custody. "I strongly reject that accusation. The people of Jaffna know that I will never do such a thing," she said in an interview. Q: How is the situation in Jaffna at present. A: There was a tense situation recently. more..

Power mapping

May 29 (GV) I was asked to contribute an article to an up-coming issue of The Architect, the journal of the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects. The issue will be anchored to the idea of democratic space. After the guest editor accepted my article without any reservations or edits, he was informed by the Editor in Chief a few weeks ago that references to the Rajapaksa’s were problematic. With some reservations, I agreed to delete these references. A hugely apologetic guest editor informed me more..

Bring back the hangman and the whip

May 29 (DN) The latest gruesome rape and murder of this young girl has indeed shocked our nation. This horrible crime MUST be avenged for its own sake and also for the security of our people. Those responsible have no right to live till the end of their days eating and living at our expense in prison serving life terms; believe me “I was the Chairman of a Prison inspection committee, these despicable scoundrels who have been sentenced to death for murder but not been hanged lead a good life more..

Wilpattu crisis: A case of missing the woods for the trees?

May 29 (FT) Kallaru forest reserve adjoining the Wilpattu National Park is bleeding as red soil appears in a swathe of land with no trees, which were mercilessly felled down and taken to unknown destinations by unknown forces. Makeshift huts are dotted in cleared land that runs to over thousands of hectares in Kallaru forest reserve. Empty huts, with no signs of human living, are the remnants to prove an organised approach to set up colonies more..

Institutions for administration of justice are far more important than the military

May 29 (CT) The rape and murder of a 17-year-old schoolgirl two weeks ago, has given rise to the biggest protest seen in North in recent times. Police have announced that 9 persons have been arrested and are been investigated. DNA samples have been taken and sent for examination. Meanwhile, the President of Sri Lanka publicly stated that the case would be tried in a special court to avoid the usual delay and to ensure justice speedily. This promise by the President is quite welcome. more..

Sri Lankan ports may force Vizhinjam to sail into rough waters

May 29 (ENS) Come June 3, the all-party meet convened by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will take a call on the lone bid secured for the Vizhinjam seaport project, but tough battles await the port once it gets built. China-backed ports in Sri Lanka will pose stiff competition to Vizhinjam, Gajendra Haldea, former principal adviser (infrastructure and PPP), Planning Commission, has warned, even as he endorsed the steps taken by the UDF Govt to attract investors. more..

'Pictorial warnings, most cost effective way to control tobacco related diseases'

May 29 (IL) Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said "Pictorial warning is the most cost effective means of controlling tobacco related Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs), including cancer “, and that "countries can get return on their investment in multiple areas". Paying tribute to countries including Sri Lanka whom she said "had courage to keep going despite heavy more..

Jonty in Colombo to train our players

May 29 (Island) South Africa’s fascinating cricketer Jonty Rhodes toured our shores on just three occasions, but yet, he is among the top three most favourite overseas cricketers amongst Sri Lankans; others being Mohammad Azharuddin and Wasim Akram. Earlier this week, Jonty arrived in the island on a coaching stint to help Sri Lanka’s coaches and cricketers to improve fielding, one of the most neglected disciplines in recent times. Jonty is expected to conduct six sessions for more..

Dandeniya accuses top shuttler of fraud

May 29 (DN) Sri Lanka Badminton Association president Suraj Dandeniya has openly accused a top notch shuttler for engaging in a financial fraud. He accuses that this player has obtained Rs. 25 to 30 million from the govt, providing fake information. "These should be a proper investigation initiated on the money he has obtained from the National Olympic Committee and the Sports Ministry," Dandeniya said. The SLBA President made these comments during a press briefing held more..

SL women stymied by archaic job market

May 29 (IPS) Wathsala Marasinghe, a 33-year-old hailing from the town of Mirigama, just 50 km from Colombo, once had high hopes that the progressive education and employment policies of this South Asian island nation would work in her favour. Today, she feels differently, believing that an evil system has let her down. As a young girl, she attended one of the best schools in the area and was selected to attend a state university. more..

Touchwood liquidation plan before June 22

May 29 (CT) Liquidator of the troubled Touchwood Investments PLC G.K. Sudath Kumar will submit a proposal for the liquidation of the company to the Colombo Commercial High Court shortly. This is a very complex situation and I am currently negotiating with lawyer Sudath Hettiarachchi and a team of Attorneys for a suitable mechanism which will be a win-win situation for all, Sudath Kumar said. This is different to the normal Liquidation, so our lawyers are presently working to submit more..

Rajitha hits out at former Agriculture Minister over Customs Chief

May 29 (FT) Govt yesterday lashed out at former Minister of Agriculture Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, who claimed that former Customs Chief Jagath Wijeweera’s resignation was due to the Glyphosate scandal. Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said that Abeywardena was not the Customs Director General (DG) to make such a claim. “Mahinda Yapa is not the DG of Customs. The former DG has informed us that he would even provide another letter if necessary,” he added. more..

Can a foreign national lawfully perform CB Governor’s duties?

May 29 (Island) Central Bank is an institution which controls the commanding heights of Sri Lanka’s economy. Governor of the Central Bank is the Chairman of the Monetary Board and CEO of Central Bank. He is, ex-officio, the principal representative of the Bank and the Monetary Board and has the authority to represent Central Bank and Monetary Board in all its relations with other persons, including govt and more..

NSB records impressive Q1 profit growth

May 29 (DN) National Savings Bank has recorded a 32% increase in its first quarter Profit Before Tax in 2015, as compared to the same period last year. This is despite a Rs. 1.1 billion one off gain reported during first quarter last year. Therefore, on an organic business as usual basis, growth is most impressive at 137%. Net Interest Income of the Bank increased by 73% to Rs. 6,968 million in first quarter 2015 as compared to Rs. 4,026 million recorded for the first quarter of last year. more..

Serene Pavilions dispute settled

May 29 (DN) The long standing dispute of Serene Pavilions Hotel in Wadduwa has come to settlement with the parties concerned withdrawing their cases. The stakeholders have succeeded in reaching a settlement over the hotel's shareholdings issue. With the settlement now, Sumith Guruge holds 30% shares while Jit Warnakulasuriya owns 27% and 38% by British national, Sir Clive Leech and 5% by Indian national Gautham Radia. Meanwhile veteran hotelier & creator of hotel, Anura Lokuhetti, more..

ADB, Govt sign $ 107 m loan deal for roads

May 29 (FT) The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Govt yesterday signed the $ 107-million second tranche loan agreement of an $800 million multi-tranche financing facility to upgrade roads. “Providing all-weather road access will help link rural communities to socioeconomic centres in Sri Lanka, thereby enabling rural communities to reap and enjoy the fruit of economic growth,” said Sri Widowati, more..

IIT felicitates Microsoft Imagine Cup winners

May 29 (CT) Winners of this year's Microsoft Imagine Cup (MIC) Sri Lanka finals and attendees of Google Summer of Code (GSoC) from the Informatics Institute of Technology (IIT) were felicitated by the campus on Wednesday, during an event held at the BMICH. IIT had been represented at the MIC by seven teams who won a record-breaking six awards by taking the highest number of awards for a single campus since the competition's inception in 2005, including first place under more..