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MR to be issued notice

May 31 (SL) Commission to Investigate Allegation of Bribery or Corruption is to issue notice on former President Rajapaksa to appear before the commission despite recent protests in Parliament and outside. Director General of the Commission, Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe said that the former President and former Minister Tissa Attanayake’s impending interrogation has not been withheld, but will be carried out shortly. more..

Freedom for 278 political prisoners

May 31 (SO) 278 political prisoners whose release the Tamil community has been agitating for several years will soon be granted their freedom following talks with the TNA, party frontliner M.A. Sumanthiran MP said. The TNA will this week discuss with Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe the procedural methods and the priority categories of prisoners to be released, he said, adding that a meeting scheduled for last week was postponed due to unforeseen circumstances. more..

Alleged war crimes: Govt-LTTE courier to expose all

May 31 (CT) Former TNA Ampara District MP Chandra Nehru Chandrakanthan, who acted as a courier between the then govt and the LTTE, is preparing to present evidence regarding human rights violations which were allegedly committed during the closing stages of the war. Although many international and internal investigations were initiated into such allegations, he insists that the grievances of the Tamil people have as yet not been meaningfully addressed. more..

Dissolution further delayed as 20A gets entangled in No-Confidence motions

May 31 (ST) The search for hidden assets of leaders of the previous Govt has gone into high gear ahead of parliamentary elections. In Colombo this week to assist the local investigative agencies in this task were officials of the US Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. Their visit is the direct outcome of the May visit to Sri Lanka by Secretary of State John Kerry. more..

Get set for a Hobson’s choice of an election

May 31 (Island) Two weeks ago, I wrote about the power triangulation involving President Sirisena, PM Wickremesinghe, and the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa that will be a determining factor in the upcoming parliamentary election. Another way to look at it is to look at the choices open to the people. In fact, they have little or no choice. The rotten system of party leaders nominating candidates and people voting on party lists of candidates will all but ensure that everyone in current parliament more..

Sirisena-Ranil and the art of the possible

May 31 (Island) Whether this is a Ranil-Sirisena (R&S) govt or an S&R one, is significant. It certainly started off with all the trumps and partnership seniority in Ranil’s hands, but time and completion of the 100-Day tasks has moved the equation into an S&R domain; so I will use this acronym assigning political seniority to the President. Typical of the shift is that Ranil asked for dissolution of parliament but President Sirisena, sweating under SLFP heat seems to be holding out for later, more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

May 31 (ST) A recent tweet by Erik Solheim, former Norwegian special envoy to Sri Lanka, has given an insight into the inquiry report on alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka that will be presented to the UNHRC in September. Mr. Solheim, a former Minister for International Co-operation and now head of the Paris-based Development Co-operation Secretariat of Organisation of Economic and Development (OECD), said in a tweet more..

A National Renal Disease Fund to be established

May 31 (GDI) The govt has taken steps to establish a National Renal Disease Fund proposed under the 2015 budget under the Presidential Secretariat. Already a committee has been appointed to monitor the prevailing renal disease activities to deal with the widely spreading renal disease and under which sub committees have also been appointed. These activities are being coordinated by the renal disease coordinating committee more..

DS raises alarm over drugs & crimes in Jaffna

May 31 (ST) One month before the gruesome rape and murder of a Poonkuduthivu schoolgirl, Jaffna’s District Secretary in a report had urged the police to act fast to check the rising incidence of sexual abuse, exploitation and illicit sale of liquor and drugs in the district. Describing schoolchildren’s new found addiction to drugs and banned substances as a well-planned strategy aimed at disrupting social fabric of the North, more..

Badrani refuses to budge

May 31 (SL) Former Commissioner Colombo Municipal Commission Badrani Jayawardena has been accused of not handing over her official residence in Colombo over the past four and a half months to her successor V.K.A. Anura. Jayawardena was accused of misusing her powers during the former regime and was removed from the Municipal Commissioner’s post after the fall of the Mahinda Rajapaksa govt on January 15. more..

'Delimitation Commission unjust'

May 31 (CT) Leader of the DPF, former MP Mano Ganeshan, said that they expect President Maithripala Sirisena to provide them with a private pledge tomorrow, Monday, that determining new provincial and other boundary limitations by the Elections Delimitations Commission will be carried out in a reasonable manner. He said they have had serious doubts due to the way in which the Delimitation Commission has acted so far. more..

GTF ready for direct talks on Tamil issues

May 31 (CG) The Global Tamil Forum (GTF), an influential diaspora group based in London, says it is ready for direct talks with anyone to resolve Tamil issues. The GTF was responding to a question, if it willing to have direct talks with the Govt on the Tamil issue. GTF spokesman Suren Surendiran said that the GTF has so far not been invited for any talks in Sri Lanka by the Govt. “No no invitations were received for direct talks, more..

The darker side of Buddhism

May 31 (BBC) The principle of non-violence is central to Buddhist teachings, but in Sri Lanka some Buddhist monks are being accused of stirring up hostility towards other faiths and ethnic minorities. Their hard line is causing increasing concern. The small temple in the suburbs of Colombo is quiet. An image of the Buddha is surrounded with purple and white lotus flowers. Smaller Buddhas line the walls. more..

Parliament heading for mid-June dissolution?

May 31 (Island) With the govt hesitant to disregard objections raised by smaller parties to the proposed 20th Amendment and its enactment hanging in the balance, a dissolution of Parliament seems likely by about the middle of June. Govt sources said that  even though President was  doing his best to introduce the  First Past the Post and Limited PR (FPP&LPR) System prior to  dissolution of national legislature, more..

Previous govt pushed interest rate up for Hambantota port loan: SLPA

May 31 (ST) The interest rate on the Chinese loan for Hambantota Port Phase I was increased from around 2% to 6.3% (fixed) on a request by the previous regime, a top official at the Sri Lanka Ports Authority explosively revealed this week. He also said that, this year, Sri Lanka will shell out Rs 7 billion in loan commitments for Hambantota Port alone. Three billion rupees was paid in January 2015 to the Export Import Bank of China. more..

Glyphosate banned, but fears linger

May 31 (NS) Despite claims that pesticides containing the chemical Glyphosate have been banned, the govt has conceded that it is not possible to completely do away with the chemical, at least for the time being. As such, a proposal has been made to import pesticides containing chemical through CPC. Minister Rajitha Senaratne stated govt had decided to ban import and use of pesticides containing Glyphosate more..

No 20A

May 31 (CT) A proposed no confidence vote (NCV) against UNP Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe by the UPFA/SLFP coalition; President Maithripala Sirisena's position, that regardless of a NCV he would back Wickremesinghe; defeated President Mahinda Rajapaksa's attempt to make a comeback and the proposed electoral reforms under the 20th Amendment (20A) are the significant political events taking place. The SLFP leads a coalition of parties under the UPFA umbrella. more..

Ladies’ College opens doors to extended hospitality diploma

May 31 (Island) "If we could open up a new avenue, even for one single student, I think it could make a world of difference," Eesha Speldewinde, Principal, Ladies’ College, said recently. This seems to capture the essence of the endeavor of the school to bring hospitality studies into its curriculum. Ladies College (LC) recently launched Pearson BTEC (Business and Technology Education Council) Extended Diploma in Hospitality courses - another first by the school. more..

Children who seem to remember past lives as monks

May 31 (ET) The universe is full of mysteries that challenge our current knowledge. In Beyond Science Epoch Times collects stories about these strange phenomena to stimulate the imagination and open up previously undreamed of possibilities. Are they true? You decide. Dr. Erlendur Haraldsson, professor at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik, has examined cases of children who seem to remember their past lives. more..

Mahapola glitch cleared

May 31 (Island) A slight glitch in the payment of Mahapola allowances to undergraduates of the University of Colombo that sparked a protest last week has been ironed out and all arrears have been cleared, a spokesman for the Mahapola Trust Fund said yesterday. He said there had been a delay in the February payment, which applied only to the Colombo University and not elsewhere. This has now been cleared. From May 2015, the Mahapola allowances have been increased to Rs. 5,000 more..

Harsha accepts Bandula's challenge

May 31 (DM) Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva has accepted the challenge thrown up by former Minister Bandula Gunwardane on the recent international sovereign bond issue. Mr. Gunawardane said this bond issue had been made at an interest rate of 6.1 percent. He said it was the highest interest rate offered in a bond issue. Then, he challenged either Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake or Dr. de Silva for a public debate on the economic impact of this bond issue. more..

Lankan student discovers AIDS cure invited by British PM to attend WAYS

May 31 (CT) 'HIV/AIDS is a terminal disease. If a person contracts it, it is not curable.' This was what the world believed just a decade ago. It is now often characterized as a chronic yet manageable disease. Extensive research has been carried out by renowned scientists the world over to find a permanent cure for this dreaded diseases over the past several decades. However, ultimately, it was a Sri Lankan student who more..

Asgiriya Chief Prelate questions North CM’s demand

May 31 (CG) Chief Prelate of the Asgiriya Chapter, the Venerable Galagama Attadassi Thera, has questioned the demand by the Chief Minister of the Northern Province C V Wigneswaran, that the army should be withdrawn from Jaffna. The Venerable Thera said that the Govt must be wise when responding to such demands and ensure that Sri Lanka remains united under one National flag. The Chief Prelate said this when he met PM Ranil Wickremesinghe who is on a visit to Kandy. more..

Mervyn Silva opposes Rajapaksa's PM candidacy

May 31 (AM) Former Minister Mervyn Silva stated that he is against nominating Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Ministerial candidate in the next general election. He made this observation while speaking to media yesterday, following Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena’s second death anniversary memorial service at Weligampitiya St. Anne’s Church. Silva made it clear that an individual who once held the top most position should not contest for a lower office again. more..

Customs seek FM’s help in probe on suspected STC duty-free liquor racket

May 31 (Island) Customs probe into a suspected racket in duty-free foreign liquor at the State Trading (General) Corporation (STC) has taken a new turn with the assistance of the Foreign Ministry sought to verify the authenticity of certain signatures on the invoices purported to be of diplomats. An investigation is underway to ascertain whether imported alcohol products had been smuggled out of the STC to be sold to more..

No burning problem in SLFP: Chandrika

May 31 (DM) There was no big problem in the SLFP as some had purported could split the party, former President Chandrika Kumaratunga said. The former President said that “some are trying to split the SLFP again as it was done in 1980 and again in 2001 when some helped Ranil Wickremesinghe to topple my government, we should not be discouraged.” Mrs. Kumaratunga said the former president (Mahinda Rajapaksa) should have stayed at home after his defeat. more..

When Chamal met Bala for a chat

May 31 (Island) There had been a sharp exchange between Chairman of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption (CIABOC), Justice (Retired) Jagath Balapatabendi and Dr. Jayantha Wickramaratne, Commissioner, at a meeting on April 22 about the Chairman going to Parliament the previous day at the request of the Speaker. Chairman had been accused by the Commissioner of compromising the independence of Commission by going to Parliament saying more..

Sri Lanka sided with UN on all same-sex couples’ issue: NFF

May 31 (DM) The NFF charged that the govt has violated Sri Lankan law and Foreign Policy by voting against a proposal to stop the United Nations extending staff benefits to all same-sex couples at the UN General Assembly budget committee in March. NFF Media Spokesman Mohammed Muzammil accused the govt of leading the country towards a cultural destruction while the country that is already experiencing political more..

Police probe attack on Borella mosque

May 31 (CG) The police are investigating an attack on a mosque in Borella last night. Stones had been thrown towards the mosque damaging glass and other property of the building. Police media unit said that so far indications were that the attack was over a dispute a group had with the mosque authorities. The authorities at the mosque reportedly had in their possession CCTV footage of a robbery which occurred at a building nearby and a group had requested for the footage. more..

Ruwan briefs officials on reconciliation

May 31 (CG) State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene briefed foreign defence officials he met on the sidelines of the 14th Asia Security Summit – the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, on the initiatives being taken by the new Govt since assuming office on addressing the issue of reconciliation. On the sidelines of the meeting held today, State Minister paid courtesy calls on General Prawit Wongsuwon, Deputy PM and Minister of Defence of Thailand, Michael Fallon, more..

Parliamentary elections stall giving back lands to Tamils

May 31 (ENS) Sirisena-Wickremesinghe govt is unlikely to hand back large chunks of land back to the Tamils until after the parliamentary elections in September this year, official source said. Land is a sensitive subject in Sri Lanka, which is why power over it is held by the Central govt in Colombo, even though it is a Provincial subject under 13th Amendment. Sensitivity is particularly high in the case of more..

UNHRC to focus on Lanka's migrant issue

May 31 (SO) With a number of serious challenges faced by Sri Lankan migrant workers, numbering close to two million, the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, François Crépeau, is to present his annual report and brief the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in mid June. Crepeau who is to present his annual report to the UNHRC during its 29th session, held from June 13- July 3 in Geneva, is scheduled to present a briefing on his mission to Sri Lanka. more..

'Only people can take me away from PM post'

May 31 (AD) “Only the people can take me away from the Prime Ministerial post,” PM Ranil Wickramasinghe has said. The observation was made at a press conference held in Kandy. He also pointed out the people cast their votes at the January 8 polls in a bid to make him the PM as well. “It is up to the people to decide who to trust at the forth coming election and elect the new PM,” he added. However, former Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage on Thursday (28) affirmed that more..

MR rejects Ranil’s claims

May 31 (DM) While rejecting allegations that his govt had misappropriated some Rs. 28b at the Highway ministry, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa today charged that the current govt is engaging in a smear campaign against him and an attempt to belittle the solid achievements of his govt in infrastructure development. Issuing a statement former President said; PM Ranil Wickremesinghe alleged, that I had in my capacity more..

Six OICs transferred

May 31 (DM) Police Department announced today that six Officers-In-Charge of the Police (OIC) had been given transfers with immediate effect. It said the Police Chief N.K Ilangakoon had order the transferred due to service requirement. The Transferred IOCs are: H.A.I.R.N Perera OIC of the Maligawatta to OIC Statistics Division, B.N. Ekanayake, OIC of the Habaraduwa to OIC Maligawatta, K.K.P. Udaya Kumara, OIC of the Baduraliya to OIC in Habaraduwa, more..

National Nutrition Month in June

May 31 (GDI) All arrangements are in place to hold the National Nutrition Month. The aim of the National Nutrition Month effect an attitudinal change within the people to upgrade their nutritional standards. Health Ministry has decided to name the month of June every year as the National Nutrition Month with the intention of promoting better nutrition among the population. Special programmes are being planned to educate the people to improve their nutritional standards and create a conceptual change. more..

Sri Lanka seen facing hotel overcapacity

May 31 (EN) Sri Lanka’s post-war hotel construction boom aimed at accommodating rapidly increasing numbers of tourists could result in overcapacity, a research firm has warned. Sri Lanka saw a stark drop in occupancy in the second half of 2012 and early 2013 but in the last two years occupancy levels have grown higher, said Jasmita Banga, business development manager of STR Global, a hotel industry research company. more..

Voting rights for Lankans in South India?

May 31 (SO) Sri Lankan refugees in South India may be restored their franchise rights shortly for the first time enabling them to vote during elections in Sri Lanka, from their current place of residence. Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said if Parliament passes a Bill, removing the legal barriers, arrangements can be put in place to allow the refugees in TN to vote during local elections. “Under the present law we cannot include them in the current voters’ registry. more..

Negombo Hospital main block evacuated

May 31 (DM) The main seven-storey building of the Negombo General Hospital, built in 2000, had been evacuated following a warning by the Moratuwa University found that the building may collapse soon, A media release of the Health Ministry said. The building, which houses the emergency unit, mental health unit and the OPD along with several other departments, had been cleared. Patients would be temporarily housed in other buildings at the hospital, it said. more..

'Very provocative statements from Colombo on fishermen issue'

May 31 (IANS) India plans to convey to Sri Lanka its concern about the very provocative statements emanating from Colombo on the fishermen's issue, which can vitiate the atmosphere for talks on the subject, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said. Addressing a press conference here on the NDA govt's completion of one year in power, she also dismissed allegations of lack of transparency in the ties with Sri Lanka. more..