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Punkuduthivu gang rape: EPDP claims mistaken identity

May 30 (CT) EPDP General Secretary MP, Douglas Devananda Thursday denied allegations that his party is connected to the Punkuduthivu rape and murder incident. "Those political parties who are against us are slinging mud at us to tarnish our political identity. These allegations are levelled against the party by our political opponents to stigmatize our image by connecting the gang rape and brutal murder to us," he claimed. "Even during this week two rape incidents were reported in more..

Veteran dramatist Somalatha Subasinghe passes away

May 30 (AM) Veteran dramatist Somalatha Subasinghe passed away early this morning at a private hospital in Colombo. She had been suffering from ill-health periodically during the last few years. Subasinge revolutionized Sri Lanka’s drama field, especially with her plays for the children and the youth. Joining the Education Department in 1962 as a graduate teacher, she was involved in a host of activities more..

Hamblin & Peterson: Buddhism's Pali Canon

May 30 (DN) One of the great spiritual events or processes in the history of Buddhism — and, thereby, in the religious history of the world — was the compilation and canonization of the Buddhist scriptures known as the Tripitaka (Sanskrit for Three Baskets). In the Buddhist East, this canonization process had essentially the same cultural and spiritual impact that the canonization of the Hebrew and Christian Bibles had in the West. In their medieval form, Buddhist scriptures are more..

Latest H1N1 is not avian or swine influenza

May 30 (CT) The Department of Animal Production and Health issued a notice yesterday informing both the media and the public that the current outbreak of Influenza H1N1 is not the avian influence or swine influenza. As a result of erroneous media reports identifying the current occurrence of H1N1 Influenza as swine influenza and avian influenza, the Ministry of Social Services, Welfare and Livestock Development and the Department of Animal Production and Health have been greatly more..

Govt to extend Southern highway

May 30 (CG) The Govt has decided to go ahead with the initial plan to extend the Southern Highway to Hambantota. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the Govt is having talks with China to fund the project to extend the Southern Highway to Hambantota. The Southern Highway which connects Colombo to Galle and Colombo to Matara was to be extended to Hambantota as part of the project plan of the former Govt. more..

Protests continue in Kahawatta

May 30 (AM) Police arrested one individual after protests broke out in Kahawatta town this morning. Protesters gathered in the town once again to express their anger at the recent acquittal of three individuals accused of murdering a mother and her daughter at Kotakethana. More than a hundred people were involved in these protests. They blocked the Ratnapura-Embilipitiya road. Motor vehicles were instructed to take alternative routes, police said. more..

New alliance to be formed to represent all Tamil people of Sri Lanka

May 30 (AM) DPF leader Mano Ganesan said that it has been decided to form a new alliance to represent Tamils who live in the entire country. Ganeshan stressed that they came to this decision since the TNA only raises its voice when it comes to the problems of Tamils who live in Northern and Eastern provinces. "TNA never speaks for Tamils outside Northern and Eastern provinces. Therefore we have decided to form a new alliance for entire Tamil population in the country," he stated. more..

Officials investigate allegations of former foreign ministry employee’s Geneva deals

May 30 (NF) The Foreign Ministry has launched an investigation over the Geneva deals of Kshenuka Seneviratne, a former secretary attached to the Foreign Ministry. Information over irregularities — which had taken place over the renovation of the official residence of the Permanent Representative to Geneva during Kshenuka Seneviratne’s tenure as Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative. more..

Repairing the country

May 31 (SO) President Maithripala Sirisena said it in a nutshell when, speaking at a ceremony in Hulftsdorp last week, declared that good governance cannot be fully achieved overnight and, that the Govt's 100-day program was just the start of what is actually a massive repair job that will take years, if not decades. This challenge of impatient public expectations is something that the entire National Unity govt faces and there is little that govt politicians can do more..


May 31 (Island) No satisfactory explanation has been forthcoming on last week’s sudden resignation of the Director General of Customs for what has been glossed over as personal reasons. Nevertheless it has been reported in some media that the recent ban on the import of glyphosate, a widely used herbicide in many parts of the world including Sri Lanka, may be connected to his departure. The president issued a directive on May 22 to ban the import of this chemical which more..

'BBS not created to facilitate political aspirations'

May 31 (SO) In a dramatic move, Venerable Kirama Wimalajothi Thera, last week publicly announced his desire to relinquish the leadership of the controversial Bodu Bala Sena (BBS). Alleging his party had deviated from its original purpose, Wimalajothi thera said given the serious differences in opinioned approach, it was best to part ways. Q: You have suddenly decided to step down from the BBS leadership. more..

The 20th amendment, right to information, and audit act

May 31 (SL) As suggested by the 19th Amendment, on the 3rd of this month, the speaker of Parliament convened Parliament to finalise the members of the Constitutional Council. During this meeting, a few names were nominated for membership into this Council, including 3 representatives from civil society namely Radhika Coomaraswamy, A.W.A. Salam and Dr A.T. Ariyarathne. There seemed to be a certain orientation in the selection of members by the President, PM, and the Opposition leader, more..

That no-confidence motion

May 31 (NS) Technically speaking there is no necessity to table a no-confidence motion against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. Last time he faced an election his party was routed. At present he enjoys the support of a handful of MPs. His PM post is essentially a gift, a reward for services rendered. In no way does the post reflect the popular will of the people. On Jan 8, 2015 they voted for a man called Maithripala Sirisena. Ranil Wickremesinghe’s name was not on the ballot paper. more..

'We are entering politics to bring value'

May 31 (SO) The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) is preparing to enter the political fray through the up coming General Elections. It’s General Secretary of BBS Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera blamed the current political mainstream parties for not protecting the identity of ethnic groups and said, “They are hoodwinking voters to be in power without promoting reconciliation or protecting identities of each ethnicity,” Excerpts: more..

The flame of freedom, 100 years on

May 31 (ST) This week, quite unnoticed, amid the current political drama unfolding and the uncertainty playing out in recent times, was the centenary of the 1915 riots which was a watershed event in the history of the Independence movement of this nation. On May 28, 1915, 100 years ago, this country was in flames. It had all the ingredients of a disaster; a cocktail of aroused communal passions, intrigue and mismanagement at the highest levels of the then Colonial govt and also heroism. more..

The circus in a flux

May 31 (ST) My dear Sarath, I am writing to you because no one seems to be able to keep you out of the news for long: somehow, you find a way of making headlines and stirring a new controversy, just when we think we have heard the last word from you! We heard you saying recently that yahapaalanaya has outlived its usefulness and that the way it has been carried out right from the very beginning when the Prime Minister was appointed, was not quite correct. more..

'I have no problems with Ranil'

May 31 (SL) Former Army Commander, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka says some elements are attempting to reignite the ethic issue. Fonseka said that while he has no authority over National security, President Sirisena and the security forces have taken measures to ensure the country does not return to the dark ages. However he noted that some politicians who were rejected by the people are attempting to scare more..

What MR should learn from the UNP

May 31 (Island) The event that captured everyone’s imagination last week was former CJ Sarath N. Silva’s broadside against the govt. The CD of his full speech has started doing the rounds. One of the reasons why Silva’s speech is so significant is the range of issues he has dealt with – from the way Ranil Wickremesinghe was made PM while D.M. Jayaratne was still holding office, to the way Mohan Peiris was ousted, and the way the Financial Crimes Investigation Division was created. more..

Maithri puts halt to Mahinda's SLFP politics

May 31 (CT) Despite the media carrying news items last week in a prominent manner that attempts were being made to bring Maithri and Mahinda together to unify the divided SLFP to rid Ranil Wickremesinghe of his premiership, President Maithripala Sirisena reportedly quashed such news reports when he put a full stop to Mahinda's SLFP and UPFA politics when he met UPFA coalition party leaders last week. Maithri reportedly told those leaders that he would not give nominations to Mahinda more..

'Govt deviating from rule of law'

May 31 (CT) Former Chief Justice (CJ) Sarath Nanda Silva spoke about the govt's deviation from the rule of law. Q: You were instrumental in electing a new Executive President on 8 January. Why have you changed your stance now A: My major concern with regards to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was that I was of the view that he was fully entitled and eligible to continue in office till Nov 2016. I had no objection at all to that, more..

Indians due to arrive on Aug 9 for three Tests

May 31 (ST) The Indian Test team once a frequent visitor to the shores of Sri Lanka, will be back for serious action after a lapse of almost four years on a three Test and no frills series on August nine. The visitors who last played a Test series in Sri Lanka ended up 1-1, losing the Test match in Galle where the Lankan spinning legend Muttiah Muralitharan bid adieu after his record 800th Test wicket. The Indians won the third Test match at the P. Sara Stadium courtesy VVS Laxman’s timely century more..

Answers for fielding woes

May 31 (Island) Sri Lanka Cricket hierarchy needs to be commended for their efforts to put the national cricket team’s performances back on track after the World Cup debacle despite alleged acts of sabotage. During a media briefing earlier this month, the Interim Committee promised to address fielding woes of the national cricket team as one of their urgent priorities. Since, they have hired a new trainer and brought in the best fielder the world has seen so far – Jonty Rhodes for a short stint. more..

Foreign currency deposits in failed Golden Key firm ?

May 31 (ST) Questions are surfacing over foreign remittances made as deposits in the collapsed Golden Key (GK) Company at a time when the Central Bank, under a govt-plan is preparing what is seen as a payment plan that would end the misery of thousands of depositors. Business Times probed this issue this week after a reader sent in a letter raising questions over foreign deposits and the lack of attention in any payment plan. more..

Matthew through to WC: First SL swimmer to achieve WC qualification

May 31 (CT) Matthew Abeysinghe of Killer Whale Aquatics achieved a FINA 'B' qualifying time to secure his berth for the Kazan 2015 FINA World Championships at the selections trial concluded at the Sugathadasa Stadium yesterday. Matthew swam past the FINA 'B' qualifying time of 51.12 seconds completing the 100m Freestyle, as he clocked 50.87 seconds, while missing his own national record which he established last year at the Youth Olympic Games by a millisecond. more..

Sovereign bond no salve as predicted ER unchanged at Rs 137.80

May 31 (CT) Thursday's sovereign bond sale of US$ 650 million as predicted by this newspaper yesterday had no impact on the rupee. "The exchange rate was dealing at Rs 137.80 to the US dollar on three months' forwards at 3.30 p.m. on Friday, unchanged from the previous day's close on thin volumes," market sources said. Supply was being checkmated by demand, they said. This newspaper reported that the sovereign bond proceeds may well be used to meet the govt's more..

Rumeshika, probably the best athlete to emerge from St. Joseph’s

May 31 (Island) When Shashiprabha Jayasinghe was blazing the track as a junior sprinter many thought that she would be the next Susanthika Jayasinghe for she dominated schools athletic sprint events like no other during her reign. Then came Pabasara Senanayake who won an Asian Youth Games medal and went on to represent Sri Lanka at several Junior international events. Kumari Ratnayake, who won a Junior Asian Athletic more..

Make players, not stadiums, says Arjuna

May 31 (Island) World Cup winning former captain Arjuna Ranatunga has urged authorities to nurture young talent and invest on up and coming cricketers rather than spending colossal amounts of money on cricket stadiums. Ranatunga made these comments when he attended the Singer Schoolboy Cricketer of Year Awards night on Thursday at BMICH. "In recent times, we have not invested sufficiently on up and coming cricketers. I told several times that there’s no need to make new stadiums as more..

Royal Ceramics expands to Australia

May 31 (ST) Royal Ceramics Lanka (RCL), a manufacturing conglomerate with diversified interest in tiles and associated products, has ventured into Australia buying a distribution company, an RCL official said. “We are in Australia with our tile business. We acquired a distribution company some two months ago to distribute tiles that we export to Australia,” he said. He said they’re on the lookout for an aluminum fabrication company as well. This is to further add value to our products. more..

Govt takes stern action to curb drop in customs tax revenue

May 31 (ST) The Finance Ministry has instigated investigations into malpractices and heavy losses in the Customs Department in the recent past, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said, adding that this is aimed at preventing a drop in tax revenue through the actions of certain customs officials. “We won’t allow dishonest custom officers with connections to the previous regime to disrupt the revenue collection process,” he said adding more..

The pain of recreating post-war scenes in celluloid

May 31 (Hindu) If a war results in violence beyond the comprehension of even those who unleash it, recapturing its after effects, particularly the scale of human suffering is an agonising task. Prem Navas, the art director of the film Dheepan, that won the Palme d’Or, the top honour at the Cannes Film Festival, said creating the sets depicting post-war scenes in Sri Lanka haunted him no end. “Moving around the set amid the bodies in an advanced stage of decomposition after days of more..

Five new DIGs shortly

May 31 (CT) Five Senior Superintendents of Police (SSP) are very likely to be shortly promoted as Deputy Inspectors General of Police (DIG) to bridge the critical shortage at this high level. SSPs, Nilantha Jayawardena, L.S. Pathinayake, Deshabandhu Tennakone, Jagoda Aarachchi and Pathmasiri Munasinghe are shortlisted for promotion very shortly. There are 20 vacancies for DIG of Police which have remained vacant because of a shortage of qualified officers who more..

Govt contemplates special police division

May 31 (NS) In the wake of the brutal gang rape and murder of an 18-year-old schoolgirl in Pungudutivu, Jaffna and the subsequent public outrage, the govt is contemplating setting up a special police division to investigate complaints of violence against women and children. State Minister Rosy Senanayake, said discussions were being held on establishing such a division, which would be headed by a DIG of Police more..

Lankan Tamil sentenced to one year jail

May 31 (Hindu) A Judicial Magistrate court here convicted and sentenced a Sri Lankan Tamil to undergo one year imprisonment in connection with a fake immigration seal found in his passport. Pronouncing the verdict, Judicial Magistrate – VI S. Saranya imposed a fine of Rs. 11,000 on the Lankan Tamil Hasan Mohamed (26) of Kandy. The offence was detected by immigration officials when Hasan Mohamed came to the Tiruchi international airport on Jan 9, 2012 to board a flight to Colombo. more..

Differences of opinion still in TNA

May 31 (SL) TNA continues to experience differences of opinion within the coalition parties but is making an effort to get together on common matters. TNA MP Suresh Premachandran said that coalition parties of the TNA are still having differences of opinion but making an effort to work together on common issues such as finding a solution to Tamil political issue. “Right now internally within coalition parties we are having discussions related to upcoming parliamentary election more..

All police officers to be dragged into traffic war

May 31 (ST) All police officers, besides those in traffic divisions, will be empowered to book traffic offenders from June, a senior Govt official said. “We need more Police personnel for the task in view of the mounting accidents and indiscipline on the roads. Last year alone, there were more than 35,000 accidents in which 2,439 persons were killed,” T.M.K.B. Tennakoon, Secretary to Ministry of Law and Order, said. more..

Jaffna rape incident SIU to submit report on police lethargy?

May 31 (CT) The Police Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is investigating possible lapses on the part of Police officers in connection with probes into the brutal rape and murder of an 18-year-old girl in Jaffna a fortnight ago. ASP Ruwan Gunasekera said yesterday that the SIU was trying to ascertain whether there was any negligence on the part of the police in the initial investigations process. "The SIU has not forwarded the report as yet. Hence, after the SIU produces the report relating to more..

Shaharyar meets Sri Lankan cricket officials

May 31 (Dawn) Sri Lanka Cricket interim-committee chief Sidath Wettimuny and a member of that committee Prasanna Jayawardene held a meeting with Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar M. Khan over lunch at the Gaddafi Stadium here on Saturday. The two-member delegation of Sri Lanka Cricket is on Pakistan tour on the invitation of the PCB to watch the third and final One-day International between Pakistan and Zimbabwe to be held on Sunday. more..

Vithya’s family shifts to Vavuniya for safety

May 31 (CT) Members of the family of slain student Vithya Sivaloganathan, who was abducted, gang raped and murdered, are preparing to flee Punguduthivu for safety. Vithya's mother Saraswathie said that they had decided to resettle in Vavuniya among their relations for their own safety because the families of the suspects connected to her daughter's rape and murder live close to their home in Punguduthivu. more..

Shiranthi will go to FCID

May 31 (SL) Former First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa will present herself before the police Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID) tomorrow after notice was issued on her last week. Anoma Weliwita, Media Co-ordinating Officer to the former first lady, said that Mrs. Rajapaksa will visit the FCID at 9.30 a.m. tomorrow. Shiranthi Rajapaksa has been asked to appear before the FCID to be questioned on the Carlton Siriliya Saviya project. Weliwita said that former first lady never more..

No nominations for cross-overs

May 31 (SO) No politician who changes his party allegiance will be given nominations, according to an agreement reached between President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. This decision was arrived at to herald a new political culture in the country, it is reliably understood. The UNP-SLFP Government, a joint political venture could implement a tremendous volume of work, and letting parliamentarians cross-over to political parties of their choice could jettison the joint efforts, more..