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'TNA demands amnesty for political prisoners'

Nov 15 (SL) Tamil political prisoners last week resumed their fast demanding a general amnesty. Many have been accusing the TNA for abandoning the fight to ensure the release of the political prisoners. However, TNA Wanni District MP S. Sivamohan assured that the TNA has not abandoned the fight and they continue to insist the govt to grant a general amnesty for the Tamil political prisoners. more..

Another shot at scuttling executive presidency?

Nov 15 (Island) The affection that Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha was held among the people of this country, largely because of the role he played in making a regime change possible early this year, was amply demonstrated by the turnout at his funeral and the sorrow evident by his premature departure from this world to continue his sansaric journey. The age of 73-years at which he passed on is beyond the psalmist’s span of threescore years and ten which, in today’s context of life expectancy, more..

JVP's shabby treatment of Chithranganie

Nov 15 (CT) George Orwell once wrote, "In our age there is no such thing as keeping out of politics. All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia." As a Cold War writer Orwell was against authoritarianism and the socialism that was brimming in Russia during the era. However, he also faced an identity crisis as a colonial police officer in Burma. If he were alive today to witness the predicament concerning the Wijeweera family more..

'No disclosure on Black Book'

Nov 15 (SL) The JVP has been directing serious accusations at the govt claiming that it has sided with those who had allegedly committed heinous crimes and those who were involved in corruption. JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti said that during the last election, Minister Mangala Samaraweera compiled a Black Book which encompassed the names of those who were involved in corruption during previous regime, more..

Beyond the Marapana issue

Nov 15 (ST) And so, Minister Tilak Marapana became the sacrificial lamb to safeguard the good name of the Yahapalana Govt when he quit this week. One of the few professionals in the Cabinet, Mr. Marapana was a soft target in what is increasingly becoming a power game within the National Govt. What wrong Mr. Marapana did to warrant his throwing in the towel is still unclear, in fact, as murky as the controversy surrounding the cause célèbre’ – the non-case of more..

Yahapalana govt at the crossroads?

Nov 15 (Island) The government that came into power promising good governance or yahapalanaya is already showing signs of coming apart at the seams. Even the unexpected demise of Ven. Sobitha was being blamed indirectly on the yahapalana govt with the late monk’s closest political associate, Dr Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri of FUTA fame telling The Island that people began questioning Ven Sobitha about the doings of the yahapalana govt and were expecting more..

'No room for National Govt to break apart'

Nov 15 (SL) Conflicts within the national govt surfaced with the debate in parliament on the controversial Avant Garde investigation which led to the resignation of Minister Thilak Marapana. Observing the current political dilemma, many have expressed doubts on the sustenance of the national govt. However Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said that it is the responsibility of those within govt to put aside more..

Vision Lanka: Mission unaccomplished

Nov 15 (ST) Hamuduruwane, It was with shock and great sadness that we woke up last Sunday to the news that you had left us. We knew that you had been sick for a few weeks and that you had been flown to Singapore for treatment but we hoped that you would return to carry on the good fight, as you always did. Since then, hamuduruwane, many have wondered why your departure evoked so strong emotions in people from all walks of life. As someone pointed out, you were a simple more..

Fire rages in Yahapalanaya as Sobitha thera is cremated

Nov 15 (CT) The newly established democracy of the Yahapalanaya Govt experienced the biggest shock when the architect of the concept Most Venerable Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera breathed his last at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Singapore last Sunday. The next shock in the political centre took place the following day when Minister of Law and Order Tilak Marapana summoned a hurried press conference at his residence to announce his resignation from Cabinet. more..

Uphill task to bridge budget deficit: Ravi K blames former govt

Nov 15 (SO) With more discussions still continuing in the Ministry of Finance over the 2016 Budget, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said that all measures have been taken to present a budget to actualise the promises the Govt made to the people. In an last minute interview Finance Minister Karunanayake said, “Detractors are on a trip of their own but none of what they speculate will happen.” more..

Wijeyadasa - Rajitha feud widens

Nov 15 (SO) It is common knowledge that politics leaves one with strange bedfellows. Former JVP Leader Somawansa Amarasinghe, a seasoned campaigner who has been in the business for over 45 years, is no exception. In April 2008, Amarasinghe made a bold decision to expel his firebrand Propaganda Secretary, Wimal Weerawansa, from all positions the latter held in the party. The main accusation levelled against Weerawansa was strategic blunders he made more..

Prasad: A role model for youngsters

Nov 15 (Island) As left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, plagued by multiple surgeries on his dodgy knees, struggled to make an impact in 2015, fast bowler Dhammika Prasad rose up to the occasion coming up with some impressive efforts throughout the year. He is the fifth highest wicket taker in the world this year having claimed 41 scalps in nine Tests at 24. A total team man, Prasad never managed a five wicket haul this year, but he did a tremendous role for the team bowling long spells more..

The truth about Avant Garde according to Tilak Marapana

Nov 15 (Island) Tilak Marapana, who resigned as Minister of Law, Order and Prison Reforms over a conflict of interest issue pertaining to the controversial business entity Avant Garde told his side of the story to The Island. Q: There’s considerable concern in the country about the operations of Avant Garde. A: First of all it must be mentioned that this is a company that is involved in local and international operations legally. more..

In the name of Sobitha Thero: End State Corruption

Nov 15 (Island) The state funeral to honour Ven. Maduluwawe SobithaThero was wholly appropriate. That was the least the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe govt could have done. It was also the easiest. But what will the govt do to continue the unfinished work that the late monk started? That is the question. Both President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe were genuine in their grief, and effusive in their tributes. But how committed are they to fulfill the promises they made at the Thero’s funeral more..

Sri Lankan attempts to start 5th US mobile carrier

Nov 15 (CT) A plan to build a company to take on AT&T and Verizon in the USA isn't as crazy as it seems, but it hinges on next year's FCC spectrum auction. There are few industries with higher barriers to entry than wireless networks. You either have to be crazy or have insanely deep pockets to compete against the likes of AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint. Social Capital's Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive, said that he intends to build US mobile carrier called Rama. more..

SriLankan Airlines’ directors told perform or quit

Nov 15 (ST) The board of directors at loss-making SriLankan Airlines has been told to perform or quit if the airline doesn’t return to profitability soon. Not mincing his words, Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne warned this week that the national carrier should get its act together and stop the bleeding (losses) within two years and then show a growth path. “I will not accept a budget which shows five years of continuous losses. more..

Dilhani shocks Yamani

Nov 15 (CT) Middle distance specialist Dilhani Fernando turned the tables on Asian Youth Championship gold medalist Yamani Dulanjali in the girls under 20 400m, while 6 new meet records were set on the second day of the 27th National Youth Athletics Championship continued at Diyagama yesterday. Fernando clocked 58.33 seconds as she sealed her second Gold while Dulanjali faced a shock defeat, although it appeared that Dulanjali was suffering from a hamstring injury. more..

Prime Minister shocked by attacks in France

Nov 15 (CG) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, in a note to French PM Manuel Valls, said that he was deeply shocked and saddened by the unprecedented and dastardly terrorist attacks in Paris which resulted in the loss of a large number of innocent lives and injury and trauma to many more. “Having suffered due to terrorism for many decades, Sri Lanka unequivocally condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Attacks of this nature clearly indicate the urgent need for more..

Top SEC official sent on compulsory leave

Nov 15 (ST) Dhammika Perera, Deputy Director General (DDG) at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), who has had several controversial issues, was served with compulsory leave orders by the SEC on Wednesday. This came on the back of the Commissioners conducting a thorough study of Mr. Perera’s activities. “After this they decided to send him on compulsory leave pending inquiry,” more..

Commission to summon Johnston

Nov 15 (SL) The PRECIFAC is to summon former Minister of Cooperatives and Internal Trade Affairs, Johnston Fernando and former officials in the ministry over an alleged fraud committed to the value of approximately Rs. 1,500 billion during the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime. Senior officials of the Commission said that it will summon the relevant senior officials to the Commission on November 17, 18, and 19. Thereafter, the former minister will be summoned to the commission. more..

Maithripala hails Suu Kyi’s victory in Myanmar polls

Nov 15 (CG) President Maithripala Sirisena has congratulated the National League for Democracy led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on the resounding and historic victory achieved at the recent elections held in Myanmar. The President said that the strong mandate given by the people of Myanmar is a manifestation of the deep faith and confidence they have placed in the inspiring leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi, to guide Myanmar to greater prosperity and success in the future. more..

Education ministry to standby international schools

Nov 15 (CT) Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam asserted on Friday that the education standards of private and international schools needed to be monitored, but assured that the Ministry will stand by the international schools for bringing in a more brilliant education system in Sri Lanka, which is the crying need at this juncture. He was addressing the annual conference of The International Schools of SL for Heads of more..

Baby killers aim to play like pros

Nov 15 (SO) Sri Lanka may have been over the moon after massacring a team of West Indies babes in the concluded Test and ODI series but coach Jerome Jayaratne will stand firm to vouch for the fact that playing against the big time professionals is what matters. Sri Lanka won the Test series 2-0 and the ODI series 3-0 and next month take wing to New Zealand where it won’t be a walk in the park on seaming pitches. Jayaratne could only describe the wins as nothing more than a stepping stone more..

LOLC takes Sajin Vass to court

Nov 15 (SL) Lanka Orix Leasing Company (LOLC) has filed action against Sajin de Vass Gunawardena and his wife Tiana in the District Court Colombo for allegedly breaching the settlement agreement they had entered into with LOLC in March this year. Cosmos Leisure Pvt Ltd., owned by Vass Gunawardenas had allegedly obtained a loan from LOCL a few years ago but has failed to make the settlement. As a partial settlement, Sajin Vass had transferred the title of one of his properties more..

Jayantha Dharmadasa refutes Probe Report

Nov 15 (SO) Former Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) president Jayantha Dharmadasa claims that he has not benefitted financially or otherwise when he headed office of the sport's governing body following the publication of the Probe Report that investigated allegations of corruption in the game's administration from January 2012 to Jan 2015. Dharmadasa was reacting to the Probe Report that implicated him in a medical more..

PM, 13 TUs to explore consensus on Monday

Nov 15 (CT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is expected to meet with a host of trade union representatives at Temple Trees on Monday to discuss the possible amalgamation of EPF and ETF funds into a joint Pension Fund for private sector employees. Anton Marcus, General Secretary of the Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union told Ceylon Today that the Prime Minister had called for the meeting with trade union representatives in response to a written proposal sent to him by more..

20th Amendment sunk: Champika

Nov 15 (Island) There’s absolutely no interest among Parliamentarians about electoral reform, General Secretary of the ruling United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) and leader of the JHU Patali Champika Ranawaka said. President Maithripala Sirisena pledged during the presidential election campaign to enact reforms to the current electoral system. Electoral reform was a key element of the package of benefits promised in the 100 Days Programme. more..

SLC announces domestic cricket overhaul

Nov 15 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket has announced an overhaul of domestic cricket, which features three city-based tournaments that will be launched in the upcoming season. The 2015-16 season will also feature a four-day, 50-over and Twenty20 tournament based out of five regional hubs, in addition to the club-based premier tournaments which will continue as usual. The new city-based structure, titled Elite C'ship more..

Officials on the mat: Pending investigations

Nov 15 (SO) Several officials of the Ministries of Justice and Industry and Commerce, the Handicrafts Board (Laksala) and the Independent Television Network (ITN), are likely to be temporarily removed from their posts until the completion of several on-going investigations, according to reliable sources of these institutes. Laksala, the two Ministries and the ITN have been notified by the PRECIFAC, according to sources. The list of officials include a prominent Additional Secretary of the Justice Ministry, more..

New govt deal with Avant Garde exposed

Nov 15 (SL) Although higher officials in the government states that all tenders with regard to the supply of weapons to Avant Garde had been cancelled, it is learnt that the govt has signed a new agreement with Avant Garde on Oct 20 this year. Sunday Leader is in possession of a copy of the new agreement the govt entered into with Avant Garde and according to it, the agreement cannot be cancelled before the expiry date. This agreement was signed after Avant Garde gave an more..

2016 Budget: Tax reforms, Govt. in search of revenue

Nov 15 (ST) Govt’s 2016 budget to be unveiled on Friday will see a radical shift in tax policy targeting the rich, set the tone for more business and investment, though against the backdrop of a worsening economic environment. Macro-economic fundamentals are at dangerously low levels, 2015 budget targets have gone haywire and foreign exchange reserves are dwindling. Economist W.A. Wijewardena, said that in the next 12 months more..

Laws passed, but delay in collecting new taxes

Nov 15 (ST) Attempts to expedite collection of outstanding taxes based on six new Finance Acts have been stalled with the Finance Ministry yet to inform the Inland Revenue Department on the dates the taxes will come into effect, officials said. So far instructions have been issued only regarding the collection of the Migration Tax, according to which a person permanently migrating has to pay as tax 20 per cent of the foreign exchange released to be taken out of the country. more..

Treasury grapples with practical issues on macroeconomic management

Nov 15 (ST) Treasury is grappling with practical issues in handling the country’s macroeconomic management and financial transaction functions as it has become time consuming to coordinate with the Central Bank (CB), state banks – Bank of Ceylon and the People’s Bank – and several other key institutions which are not under the purview of the Finance Ministry, official sources revealed. Treasury officials have found it difficult to liaise with the CB, External Resources Department, more..

Avant Garde loses monopoly; Navy takes over weapons

Nov 15 (ST) Sri Lanka Navy on Friday took charge of all weapons held in two ships in the Galle Harbour by Avant Garde in a prelude to provide other approved companies to engage in maritime security. The military hardware was both on board the floating armoury MV Mahanuwara and MV Avant Garde that had returned after a nearly two-month-long voyage from the Red Sea. Move to take charge of all the weapons more..

A Monk for all Sri Lankans

Nov 15 (Island) The passing away of Venerable Maduluwawe Sobitha has deeply affected all Sri Lankans irrespective of ethnicity and religion, class and occupation, urban and rural. In our profound grief at this time of our loss we have become the united nation that he wanted us to be. To remain united will be the nation’s ultimate tribute to the departed monk. Religious leaders have played significant roles in the history of many countries achieving mass impact and more..

My good friend Ven Sobitha Thero

Nov 15 (Island) The late Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha and the writer who is chief incumbent of the Abhayarama Temple in Narahenpita were on opposite sides of the battle lines at the time of the Jan. 8 presidential election. Ven. Ananda after whom the road on which his temple stands has been named continued to be a strong supporter of former President Rajapaksa after his defeat and his temple has been, and continues to be the Colombo Hq of the UPFA/pro-Mahinda SLFP group more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Nov 15 (ST) President Maithripala Sirisena was to summon and then express his regrets to four former armed forces chiefs last Tuesday for the FCID summoning them for questioning. They served as heads of Sri Lanka diplomatic missions under the former regime. The FCID questioning was on the circumstances under which, and the reasons for returning to Sri Lanka during the period ahead of Jan 8 presidential election. more..

Depositors mull recalling terminated GK case

Nov 15 (Island) A key Golden Key (GK) depositors’ association is contemplating filing a motion in the Supreme Court (SC) in a bid to recall the terminated FR case as the Central Bank has failed to honor its commitment to complete the second phase of reimbursements within the stipulated timeframe. The follow-up stage, where repayments of 41% of depositors’ holdings between Rs. 2-10 million, was expected to be more..

The Navel Conspiracy!

Nov 15 (CT) Following the outrageous hassle made by CM of Western Province Isuru Devapriya to bring a circular banning all female belly buttons, several hundreds of women's rights activists are expected to launch a massive protest demanding the liberation of the umbilicus. These island-wide protests will be carried out under the slogan of Free the buriya! and also has its own Twitter hash tag; #BuriyaApitaApiBuriyata. more..

Sumanthiran booed by Melbourne Tamils

Nov 15 (CT) TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran was prevented from addressing a meeting in Melbourne on Friday by a group of Lankan Tamil expatriates who shouted slogans saying that they were not prepared to trust the TNA anymore. According to reports, Sumanthiran was almost manhandled at a meeting arranged by TNA supporters in Sydney a few days ago as well. Following the disruption of the meeting at more..