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Kumar Gunaratnam: Subversive or Socialist?

Nov 11 (CT) The arrest of FSP politburo member Kumar Gunaratnam is discussed in political circles. Police say that he was arrested following information that indicated its necessity and he tried to escape by jumping over a parapet wall. However, reliable sources reveal a different story. He had been arrested whimsically and the claim that he attempted to escape is false. President Maithripala Sirisena is set to tour Kegalle on 16 Nov. more..

Video: Love affair into tragedy; two killed

Nov 11 (DM) A 26-year-old woman was shot dead by a naval rating, attached to the Tangalle Naval camp, who had later shot himself at Wewahamanduwa in Matara last night. Police said the 26-year-old naval rating, a resident of Kottegoda had gone missing since last evening with a T-56 weapon and ammunitions. They said officers at the Tangalle Naval camp had also lodge a complaint with the Tangale police over his disappearance. Police suspect that the victim had an affair more..

'No name change for Nagadeepa Island'

Nov 11 (AD) Govt will not give the nod to change the name of Nagadeepa Island to Nainativu, Minister Faizer Mustapha says. The observation was made in response to a decision by the Northern Provincial Council to pass a resolution in a bid to amend the name of Nagadeepa Island. Nagadeepa is a small but notable island off the coast of Jaffna Peninsula in the SL Tamil dominated Northern Province. The name of the island alludes to the folklore inhabitants, the Naga people, according to sources. more..

El Nino creates topsy turvy weather in SL

Nov 11 (IPS) Residents in Colombo and outlying areas have been waking up to misty mornings of late. Decade ago, regular mist in this area just above the equator would have been a noteworthy event. These days, it is a regular occurrence in some parts north of capital. Weather experts contend that misty mornings are now part and parcel of changing climate patterns that have meant frequent extreme weather events. more..

Court refers Janaka Bandara to a JMO

Nov 11 (AD) Matale Magistrate’s Court today directed the Prison Authorities to refer former UPFA Minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon for a Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) to obtain a report concerning his medical condition. The order was issued when the case in which the former Minister is suspected in the murder of an individual in 1999 was taken up for hearing before Magistrate Sampath Gamage. Magistrate also further remanded Janaka Bandara Tennakoon till Nov 24, more..

Gammanpila quick to Marapana’s defence

Nov 11 (CT) MP Udaya Gammanpila said, that the resignation of former minister of Prison Reforms and Law and Order, Tilak Marapana took place upon the PM's instigation. However, on Monday, Marapana asserted that his resignation was based upon his personal decision. Gammanpila added, "As far as I know, the PM suggested that he resigns to save the government. Without any logical reason they were blaming Marapana when all he did was to confirm that Attorney General's opinion was correct. more..

Mervyn Silva did not lodge complaint against Gotabaya Rajapaksa: CID

Nov 11 (AM) CID informed Magistrate's Court that former Minister Mervyn Silva did not lodge a complaint against former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa regarding the white van abductions. This was revealed when a habeas corpus filed by relatives of three missing persons was taken up for hearing by Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya. Silva had only tendered a letter on the alleged abductions but it is not a complaint, more..

Mobile phone ban for teachers in Uva Province

Nov 11 (AD) The use of mobile phones during school hours will be prohibited for teachers at schools within Uva Province with effect from January next year, Chief Minister of the province Chamara Sampath Dassanayake said. Information has been received that certain students also bring mobile phone to school and that he has instructed relevant school principals to take proper action regarding the matter in the near future. Teachers will be instructed to switch off their mobile phones more..

Israel expects relations with Sri Lanka to further deepen

Nov 11 (CG) Israel expects relations with Sri Lanka to further deepen and strengthen, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The new Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Sri Lanka to Israel, Periyasamy Pillai Selvaraj presented his credentials to Reuven Rivlin, President of the State of Israel. The ceremonial event was held at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem where the Ambassador was accompanied by M.R.C.B. Ekanayake, First Secretary and more..

Sri Lanka mulls releasing LTTE suspects after rehabilitation

Nov 11 (ENS) Govt is considering a proposal to release the 217 Tamils currently in detention under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), after putting them through a program of rehabilitation, Minister of National Dialogue, Mano Ganeshan, said. Ganeshan recalled that the Mahinda Rajapaksa govt had released over 12,000 cadre of the LTTE, after subjecting them to a rehabilitation program. more..

Two arrested at BIA with foreign currency

Nov 11 (CG) Two people were arrested at the BIA with foreign currency valued at over Rs 40 million. The customs department said that the two men are Sri Lankan Nationals aged 30 and 45 and are residents of Colombo. On being investigated the two men had US$ 229,500 and Euro 50,000 valued at Rs. 40,752,736.00 concealed in their waists. Investigations are being carried out by Director of Customs Rohitha Uduwawala, Deputy Directors of Customs Anura Walawage, Sisira de Silva, more..

Tamil political prisoners taken back to prison

Nov 11 (CG) The 31 Tamil political prisoners who were granted bail by the Colombo Magistrate today were taken back to prison as there was no one to give them bail. All 31 prisoners arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) had been granted bail after the Attorney General’s Department produced the required documents to Court. However since no one appeared to post bail on behalf of the 31 suspects they were taken back to the Welikada prison and remanded. more..

Sagala, Swaminathan sworn in as Ministers

Nov 11 (AD) Sagala Ratnayake has been sworn in as the Minister of Law and Order while D.M. Swaminathan was sworn in as Minister of Prison Reforms in addition to their existing ministerial portfolios. The Ministers took oath before President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat. Ratnayake is the Minister of Southern Development while Swaminathan is the Minister of Rehabilitation and Resettlement. more..

10,288 motor car registrations in Oct

Nov 11 (LBO) October continued to recorded strong numbers for vehicle registrations in Sri Lanka although down from the record set in September, JB Securities said in a research note. LTV cap of 70% was in force during October so it may have had some impact on the slowdown, the note said. The change in the basis of valuation on which taxes would be charged would only come into effect on LCs opened on or after 18 Oct so its full impact will only be felt in late Nov and Dec. more..

Senior lawyer laments appalling state of good governance

Nov 11 (Island) Leading attorney-at-law Gomin Dayasri expressed serious concern over the Attorney General, Justice Minister as well as the Law and Order and Prisons Reforms Minister being under a cloud due to controversial handling of the Avant Garde investigation. Govt launched investigations into Avant Garde Maritime Services soon after the last presidential polls. Dayasri asserted that the country was in a pathetic situation for want of good governance. more..

Sri Lanka to prosecute Avant Garde, revokes agreement

Nov 11 (EN) Govt Wednesday decided to revoke a purported agreement Avant Garde had entered into with the defence minister under former secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and asked the navy to take over the private firm’s operations. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said President Sirisena ordered the immediate cancellation of the so called joint venture deal between the private security company and more..

A Visionary – With a mission unfulfilled

Nov 12 (CT) Rev. Maduluwawe Sobitha was a visionary whose voice reverberated in all directions of the country. His vision was to see a Sri Lankan Nation that respects democratic values, human rights, equality. He is an intellectual whose mind was open to truth and justice. Hence his ideas has involved during the four decades he was in active public life. He never was a part of any political party but stood for principles and values which he was convinced, was the path to reach his vision. more..

He renounced Nirvana for the sake of others

Nov 12 (CT) At the time of his passing, Maduluwawe Sobhitha thero was the nation’s embodiment of political morality. To make the rulers righteous was his life’s mission. He was the exceptional Buddhist monk who sacrificed his own nirvana for the sake of others. Professor H.L. Seneviratne is perhaps restrained more than mildly when he says that when he met him in the late 1970s he was still in the mood of mild elation at the nationalist victory of 1956. Ven Sobitha was a novice Samanera in 1956. more..

Sheer negligence?

Nov 12 (SO) A high tension electric cable carrying 11KV of power fell on a vehicle near the Railway Station Junction at Gintota on the Colombo- Matara highway, killing three persons last Monday (2). Three other soldiers were admitted to Karapitiya Hospital with minor injuries. Individuals were soldiers attached to its Galle Boossa camp on a driving lesson. Sources from LECO admitted safety of the public may have been compromised as more..

Lament for Ven. Sobitha Thera

Nov 12 (Island) I cannot make myself believe that my best friend (kalyana mithra) in the clergy is no more. I was in bed when the radio announced that Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha had breathed his last in Singapore. For a moment I thought that I must still be asleep and having a nasty dream. Then I recalled a line in my favorite novel The Razor’s Edge by Somerset Maugham: "The dead look so terribly dead when they’re dead". Yes, this was no mistake. My friend aged only 73 was dead and gone and more..

A load of piffle parading as policy

Nov 12 (SL) On my checking out the web edition of a prominent English-language daily on Nov 5, I was greeted, if that is the appropriate term, by unmitigated rubbish which, if the writer is to be believed, was about to be delivered by probably the most powerful man in the country – Ranil Wickremesinghe, our PM – in the form of a landmark policy announcement. This spoke to a great and noble enterprise that invoked the late Robert Knox’s contention that, if you washed the mud off more..

'Govt must first catch big whales not sprats'

Nov 12 (SL) Many civil society groups that supported the President Maithripala Sirisena’s campaign during the last presidential election to fight corruption, misuse of power and state resources, family rule and nepotism under a new govt are now feeling betrayed as the very government that they elected to power continue to head more or less in the same direction. Social critique, renowned translator & Convener of more..

A giant enslaved

Nov 12 (FT) Recently I received an electronic link on the plight of Sri Lankan elephants, particularly those captured, tamed and put to work in various ways. The main theme of the widely circulated YouTube clip was man’s cruelty to this magnificent beast that happens to share this land with us. It was a shameful indictment of the country, of a people unable to appreciate a precious gift of nature. It is said that we have about 5,000 elephants in the wild today. more..

Sobhitha Thera's wish and Marapana's fate

Nov 12 (CT) Before Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera fell ill he accused the govt of not apprehending the culprits involved in corruption. He charged that the govt was wasting time while the iron was hot to make use of it. Main charge made by the thera was that the Govt was trying to sweep the controversial Avant Garde probe under the carpet. While the thera was breathing his last, Minister Tilak Marapana was trying to give saline to Avant Garde issue by trying to protect that company. more..

Power master plan

Nov 12 (CT) Energy supply is essential for economic development in all countries around the world, especially for developing countries. Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya talks about govt's plans to ensure the citizens and businesses get a steady and reasonable priced energy through establishing robust and transparent mechanisms. Q: You are the Minister of Power and renewable energy, which is one of the most important more..

Editorial: A damning indictment

Nov 12 (Island) The govt seems determined to go ahead with its plan to end the Central Bank control over the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF), which it proposes to merge with the Employees’ Trust Fund (ETF) to form a pension fund. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Harsha de Silva, on Monday, put up a spirited defence in a bid to justify the govt proposal. Dr. de Silva has told the media that the controversial govt move is aimed at ensuring more security for the EPF. more..

Dialog Axiata profits down on forex loss

Nov 12 (EN) Dialog Axiata, SL's largest mobile operator said group profits fell 60% to 679 million rupees in the Sept 2015 quarter from a year earlier on a forex loss, as the island's soft-pegged central bank printed money and depreciated the currency. Group reported earnings of 10 cents per share for the quarter. In the nine months to September profits were 56 cents per share on total profits of 4.56 billion rupees marginally down from 4.61 billion rupees a year earlier. more..

First win on tour helps WI level T20 series

Nov 12 (CI) West Indies' bowlers delivered tight lines and intelligent variations of pace on a slow Khettarama surface to force a Sri Lanka collapse and prise a 23-run victory to end an otherwise barren tour. Dwayne Bravo collected four wickets, and Ravi Rampaul three, in the visitors' defence of 162 for 6 which, like their bowling, had also been a collective effort. Victory gives WI a share of series, SL keep top T20 rank. more..

Dilshan's Holder-seeking missile

Nov 12 (CI) Jason Holder did not play the second T20, but made an impact nonetheless, using every centimetre in his two-metre frame to dismiss Sri Lanka's best batsman of the evening. Tillakaratne Dilshan got on his knees to switch-hit Ravi Rampaul in the air, but though the shot had enough power to carry over the deep point boundary, Holder zipped along the outfield, leapt up and held onto a tough chance above his head, his feet less than six inches from the rope. more..

Tragedy strikes brothers

Nov 12 (CT) Two brothers were killed in an accident when a tipper truck collided with a motorcycle opposite the Mattala Airport in Hambantota early yesterday morning. Accident occurred when the tipper, en route from Hambantota, turned towards the airport and slammed into the motorcycle which was heading in the opposite direction. The rider of the motorcycle died on the spot while the other passenger, the rider's brother, died after admission to the Hambantota Hospital. more..

Passion for Pakistan trade

Nov 12 (FT) Taking on the challenge of increasing bilateral trade, Pakistan Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan has outlined ambitious plans to widen the scope of the existing Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries by increasing joint ventures, tourism and trimming red tape ahead of PM Nawaz Sharif’s visit in January. Khan is in Sri Lanka this week with a top business delegation to understand and iron out more..

Bonds losses trim NTB’s Sept quarter profit

Nov 12 (EN) Nations Trust Bank (NTB) said group net profit for the September 2015 quarter fell 18% to 681 million rupees from a year ago with losses in its bonds portfolio and lower interest margins although its credit card business did well. The group’s interest income fell 7% to 4.1 billion rupees while interest expenses fell 9% to 1.9 billion rupees resulting in net interest income falling 6% to 2.2 billion rupees. Net fees and commission income fell 18% to 831 million rupees in the quarter from the year before, more..

Ward Place fracas: International or national conspiracy?

Nov 12 (SL) Historic occasions happen on a daily basis in this resplendent isle. When a VIP, usually a scoundrel, unveils a plaque or declares open something or the other it is deemed to be a historic occasion. Thus the recent War Place fracas which has been of much concern and in public focus for so many days will be deemed a historic event in the annals of Sri Lankan student agitation, of course by the agitators. The Police Commission other commissions have been appointed to probe more..

Sri Lankans using public transport has dropped to 50% now from 75%, 20 years ago

Nov 12 (ST) The number of Sri Lankans using public transportation has fallen to 50% now from 75%, 20 years ago, one of reasons why roads in Colombo and the suburbs has become congested with private vehicles. Prof. Amal Kumarage from the University of Moratuwa’s Department of Transport and Logistics Management, said a good example of the efficiency of public transportation is Singapore. Since 1970s public transportation has been more..

What's the deal with Sri Lanka's Tamil political prisoners?

Nov 12 (HP) Due to October hunger strikes in prisons across the country (with prisoners demanding amnesty), President Maithripala Sirisena had given assurances that he would take a decision on this matter by Nov 7. Some have suggested that this meant prisoners would be released, but the next steps had always been somewhat unclear. There were subsequent reports that 61 prisoners would be released by Nov 20. Recently, a hunger strike has commenced anew. more..

Policy needed on environment : REDD+ is a plus

Nov 12 (DM) The PM of Sri Lanka made a policy statement on Nov 5 to indicate the future priorities of the new government. It had over 70 inspirational statements indicating a wide array of issues and subjects of concern to the government. In what might have been an oversight, the statement did not mention any action or direction with regard to climate change and the environment. At present, the Cabinet portfolio on environment is held by no less than the President. more..

Video: Sobitha Thera’s last rites: Some are trying to spread false rumours

Nov 12 (DM) Some people were trying to spread false rumours that the last rites of the Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera were not being conducted according to Thera’s last wishes, said the Maha Sanghanayaka of Sri J'pura, the Ven. Meegahatenne Chandrasiri Thera. He said that the Ven Sobitha Thera had not described in writing how he would like his funeral to be conducted, though he had made certain remarks regarding more..

Galle Literary Festival to generate over $ 4 m boost for local economy

Nov 12 (FT) The upcoming Fairway Galle Literary Festival 2016 is expected to generate more than $ 4 million in benefits to the local economy, according to Festival Founder Geoffrey Dobbs. The event is set to attract upwards of 4,000 visitors over the course of four days to the tourist nerve centre of Galle. Unravelling during peak season, the festival is poised to be a boon to local businesses such as “three-wheelers, restaurants and boutique hotels,” Dobbs told the Daily FT. more..

New heads in tourism

Nov 12 (FT) Tourism Minister John Amaratunga made permanent appointments to several institutions under him relying on industry veterans. Paddy Withana was appointed as Chairman of SL Tourism Development Authority, a post he enjoyed previously as well. Prema Cooray was appointed as Chairman of SL Conventions Bureau. Sunil Dissanayake was appointed as the Chairman of SL Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management. Withana was also made Acting Chairman of more..

'Central Bank safest place for EPF, ETF'

Nov 12 (Island) Insisting that Central Bank was the safest place to keep EPF and ETF, Governor of the Bank Arjuna Mahendran said he had no objections to the monies being moved elsewhere. He said that according to the law both Funds came under the Labour Ministry and that was its logical place. "It was in the 1950s that the Labour Department handed over EPF monies to be managed by the Central Bank. more..