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CP Conservationists protest imminent destruction of 8 1/2 acres of Pine

Apr 9 (ST) Hantanne Nature Conservation Society, an umbrella organisation of Environmental groups in the Central Province, yesterday launched a protest campaign against the imminent destruction of an eight-and-a-half acre Pinus plot in Sarasavigama. They claimed that a Ministerial Secretary had approached the Land Reform Commission for the release of this plot for a housing project. Section 11 of Gazette notification of Feb 17, 2010, states that, “When Pinus land is to be cut, more..

April Heroes awakened masses from their deep slumber!

Apr 9 (LT) "The Heroes of ’71 fought to take the country towards a giant leap forward in life, society and development in the country. Some ask us what we have done on behalf of ’71 Heroes. Some ask whether we have given compensation for them. The ’71 Heroes never fought to achieve any personal things. They fought sacrificing their lives with the unshakable hope of building a new society. more..

Probe against eloped principal and teacher

Apr 9 (DM) An investigation was launched by Education Ministry against a married principal of a leading boys’ school in Colombo and another married female teacher of the same college who had reportedly eloped. Following the reports on the long-standing extra-marital affair between the principal aged 56, and a female teacher aged 30, Ministry Secretary W.M. Bandusena said disciplinary action will be taken against the principal and the teacher if they are found guilty in the investigation. more..

Negombo vessels in Asian dope racket

Apr 9 (CT) Police inquiries have revealed that part of the 110 kilos of heroin valued at Rs 1.1 billion confiscated from drug smugglers on an Iranian schooner off the southern coast a few days ago by the Police Narcotics Bureau and Sri Lanka Navy, had been actually en route to Australia and several other countries via Colombo as the transshipment point. A senior Police officer involved in the inquiries said that these details had come to light following the grilling of 14 foreign suspects more..

Funds for road construction misused

Apr 9 (ST) Loans obtained by the Road Development Authority (RDA) for rural road projects during the previous government had been misused for non – road construction projects including payment of foreign loans and Highways Ministry payments, an audit report has revealed. The report specifically covered the renovations relating to the stretch between Kadawatha and Nittambuwa on the Colombo – Kandy Road, more..

Photo focus: Courting accidents

Apr 9 (ST) Accidents on our streets are common and the numbers keep increasing. Some of these accidents are the result of sheer negligence. Others are caused by reckless drivers or motor cyclists. But yet some others are caused by pedestrians themselves. Today accidents at pedestrian crossings too are also on the increase. A recent example of this being the case reported last week where a Buddhist monk was killed at the Pannipitiya pedestrian crossing. more..

State Minister of Defence says tri-forces not for political work

Apr 9 (CG) State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardane says the tri forces are there to protect the country and to ensure National security and not to fulfill any political agendas. Wijewardane said that President Maithripala Sirisena as the Defence Minister is continuously offering guidance and instruction to ensure and further strengthen National security. He said this at a ceremony to distribute Virusara privilege cards among the Virusara beneficiaries of the Western province, more..

What I did was to defeat wrong system & bring in a new system: President

Apr 9 (PSL) “Though some people are accusing me stating that I created a govt together with the UNP by defeating the SLFP, what I did was to defeat the system which is not suitable to the country by bring in a new system”, says President Maithripala Sirisena. “It was the former President Rajapaksa who came to agreements with the UNP, much before I established a unity govt together with the UNP”, he added. more..

COPE to probe Hedging

Apr 9 (LT) The COPE has decided to conduct an investigation regarding Hedging Agreement that was manipulated by Ceylon Petroleum Corporation in an attempt to minimize the loss due to increase in fuel prices in the world market says its Chairman JVP MP Sunil Handunneththi. Due to the agreement the loss CPC had to bear was Rs.10,617 million. Hedging Agreement was signed by CPC with Standard Chartered Bank, Deutsche Bank, Commercial Bank and the People’s Bank. more..

96 Indian fishermen released by Sri Lanka

Apr 9 (PTI) Sri Lanka today handed over to India 96 Indian fishermen who were arrested for allegedly poaching into the country's territorial waters. SL navy assisted the repatriation of the Indian fishermen by providing them safe passage onboard Sri Lanka Naval Ship Ranavijaya and SL Coast Guard Vessel CG 43, the Lankan navy said in a statement. The fishermen were handed over to the Indian Coast Guard ships Rani Durgavathi and Abheek at the IMBL off Kankesanthurai. more..

Mixed feeling among refugee returnees

Apr 9 (Hindu) Nirmala Devi, a mother of two growing children, is happy that she is back in Vavuniya, her husband’s place, after having lived in Tamil Nadu as a refugee for 23 years. She returned to Sri Lanka in 2013 along with her husband and the children. “We wanted to raise our children in the right way” is her answer why she and her husband decided to come back. “And, that’s not possible in a camp for refugees,” she says nonchalantly. more..

Romantic escapade ends in a narrow escape

Apr 9 (DM) A story doing the rounds in political circles these days tells how a young purohita who was having a tryst with the comely better half of a senior one of his tribe at the latter’s residence had escaped from being caught red-handed in the nick of time. As soon as the senior purohita left his residence in his home town for Colombo, his wife had informed her lover that the coast was clear for him to visit her. And the young purohita had lost no time in rushing into the arms of his ladylove. more..

A land deal that marks a milestone in the history of prime estate business

Apr 9 (DM) If you heard that a 53-perch block of land had been sold for a price as high as Rs.530 million, you would surely presume it should be a block located in a commercial centre or a precious residential area in Colombo! Well, if you presumed so, you are mistaken. This precious piece of land is situated in a city in our upcountry renowned for its scenic beauty and cool climate. Tycoon who readily purchased this land which is currently the premises of of a fuel-related business venture more..

'Indian concerns over Colombo port city project addressed'

Apr 9 (PTI) Ruling out chances of India-China clash to gain control of the Indian Ocean, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe today said his govt has addressed New Delhi's security concerns over the newly- modified USD 1.5 billion Colombo Port City project. "There is no question of security problem. Indian security issues have been addressed by us. There will be further discussions with India" on this, more..

Rationalising development

Apr 10 (SO) Megapolis, Port City, expressways, coal power plants, steel plant, artificial harbours: a common thread that binds all these intended or, recently initiated, projects for this country's development, is the challenge they pose to the natural environment of our beautiful island. Indeed, it is not only a challenge to the natural environment, but it is also a challenge to the human habitat on this island and, to human productive success and sustainability. more..

Start smiling again for the Aluth Avuruddha

Apr 10 (SL) Viewing the political horizon it would be optimistic to think of whispering hopes for the coming New Year. Even though individually Sri Lankans by and large are happy in their relations with family members, friends and others the sad fact is that politics is now threatening to become a great divide even among individual relationships. Today do we see rival political leaders smiling at each other? Even worse, those in lesser ranks in politics are growling for no reason at their political more..

Breakthrough in Bangla bank cyber heist

Apr 10 (SO) A team of Bangladeshi investigators on the trail of the missing million dollars from Bangladesh Central Bank arrived in Sri Lanka last Wednesday, amidst indications that they were more interested in finding the missing pieces in the puzzle, than pursuing criminal charges against the benefactor, Shalika Foundation. With a mission to hunt down mastermind(s) behind massive cyber heist, more..

The Premier’s China visit

Apr 10 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe returned to Sri Lanka yesterday after a successful official visit to China with some invisible wrinkles in Sino-Lankan relations successfully ironed out. Even before Wickremesinghe left on his four-day visit, the word was out in Colombo that work on the Colombo Port City project, suspended shortly after the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration took office, would resume in the short term. In fact there were people who expected to see those large trucks more..

UNP infuses young blood into the party leadership

Apr 10 (SO) Nearly 15 months after the victorious Presidential election campaign, UNP, shuffled its senior positions in a bid to give more responsibilities to the party’s second and third tier politicians. The most significant outcome of the UNP Working Committee meeting last Tuesday was the new appointment given to Minister Daya Gamagé as the party’s new Senior Deputy Chairman. National Organiser’s position, post previously held by Gamagé, was abolished. more..

'New constitution must be viable for next forty years'

Apr 10 (SL) Proposed new constitution must be viable for the next 40 years the least and every SL citizen must accept it as well, says Minister of Science, Technology and Research Susil Premajayantha. He further said that via the 1978 Constitution, power has been devolved maximum and the Constitutional Assembly will reconsider this issue as well. Q: What are the views of SLFP on the new Constitutional Assembly and its agenda? more..

Had you stayed

Apr 10 (ST) My dear Sirima, I thought of writing to you because, had you been with us, it would have been your 100th birthday next Sunday. Sadly, very few people seem to remember that even though you made world history by becoming the world’s first woman PM. The Gandhis, Meirs, and Thatchers followed you! It is sadder still because these days the Boss is from your Blue party although some say he is more Green than Blue. In any event, he is struggling to keep the Blues together, more..

Historic victory for investigative journalism

Apr 10 (ST) The world was shaken up this week with the leaks of the Panama Papers exposing the financial shenanigans of world leaders, past and present. They showed how such leaders of men, women and nations and their business side-kicks hid their embezzled wealth in tax havens around the world and thereby avoided paying taxes in their respective countries. They enjoyed the good life with their monies stacked in offshore banks, some using shell companies with front-men as more..


Nearly 20 Joint Opposition members to back Maithri

Apr 10 (SL) At least 20 joint opposition members are to extend support to President Sirisena next month. Sources said that MPs of some smaller parties in the joint opposition will back Sirisena and will likely receive posts in the govt. Last week two joint opposition members were given Ministerial posts in the govt. Manusha Nanayakkara was sworn in as the Deputy Minister of Foreign Employment while Lakshman Seneviratne was sworn in as State Minister of Science and Technology. more..

The candle's burning out !

Apr 10 (CT) Founder of Amnesty International Peter Benenson once spoke eloquently about his interpretation of what a burning candle represented: "The candle burns not for us, but for all those whom we failed to rescue from prison, who were shot on the way to prison, who were tortured, who were kidnapped, who disappeared. That's what the candle is for." Given the assumption that members of our armed forces, especially deserters, ex-LTTE cadres and cadres of even factions such as more..

Will India wrap-up ETCA?

Apr 10 (CT) Yahapalana Govt lead by President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe, seems to have taken a complete U-turn in its foreign policy adopted over a year ago, with the latter taking up his maiden visit to China last week to negotiate inking several strategic economic agreements. Upon reaching China, PM Wickremesinghe received a right royal welcome by Chinese counterparts on Wednesday after more..

Is SLC scared of Lasith Malinga?

Apr 10 (Island) Serial offender Lasith Malinga has gone scot-free despite several breaches of discipline and Sri Lanka Cricket seems not interested to get the fast bowler fall in line. During a recent television interview, Malinga shocked fans when he said that he didn’t consider cricket to be a gentleman’s game. Anywhere else, such an utterance would have been strongly dealt with and the culprit would have been penalized for bringing the game into disrepute. But not at SLC. more..

No politicos at the NOC says Hemasiri

Apr 10 (ST) Hinting about a permanent retirement from his top post at the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of SL, Hemasiri Fernando pledged that he would not leave the doors open for a politician to take over the position which he has been holding for 2 decades. Brimming on his personal achievement of holding NOC top position for 20 years uninterrupted, with yet another Olympics on the way, he hinted of a possible retirement despite it has been in the waves for quite some time now. more..

Sanath looking to play a straight bat

Apr 10 (ST) As expected former selection committee chairman Sanath Jayasuriya – one of the most consistent performers in this position in recent times will be back in this key position once again. On Friday Jayasuriya met SLC hierarchy and they reached a consensus. Jayasuriya, a person who was always on hand looking into every detail of the squad including even at practice sessions, kept his players on their toes all the time. more..

SL's debt situation; what are our options?

Apr 10 (SO) The external financing situation for Sri Lanka is certainly a big worry for the govt and the private sector. This is largely due to the monstrous financial profligacy of the past not yet fully explained and also due to a large trade deficit and a drop in exports and worker remittances. In 2015, Sri Lanka trade deficit was around $ 8.5 billion. Worker remittances were around $ 6.9 billion. Capital flows were negative. We had a Balance of Payment deficit of $ 1.5 billion. more..

Indian foreign policy fiasco in Sri Lanka

Apr 10 (Island) The controversy that took centre stage in the run up to the New Year holidays was the leaking of a list of Sri Lankans who had allegedly maintained secret bank accounts in Panama. This was part of a global expose which has already caused PM of Iceland to resign with pressure mounting on British PM David Cameron to follow suit. Though people connected to the yahapalana campaign like Dr Wickremabahu said that he expected Rajapaksas to be on that list, more..

Handover SriLankan management: Poll

Apr 10 (ST) Most Sri Lankans polled in a new survey on the future of debt-ridden SriLankan Airlines (SLA) say management must be handed over while ownership needs to be retained. Asked whether SLA should continue to be managed and controlled by SL govt, 78.6% of the respondents said NO? There was an interesting suggestion from one respondent: “Re-organise the airline; sell part of the stakes to foreign and local investors with more..

Akashi appreciates efforts to achieve national reconciliation

Apr 10 (CG) Ambassador Yasushi Akashi, Representative of the Govt of Japan on Peace- building, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction, has appreciated the efforts of the new Govt to achieve national reconciliation. He said this when he met the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Harsha de Silva in Japan, the Foreign Ministry said today. Dr. Harsha de Silva briefed Akashi on the measures being taken by the Govt of Sri Lanka on the reconciliation process. more..

Dankotuwa Porcelain to sign Afghanistan deal, hopes to enter Far East, Africa

Apr 10 (ST) Dankotuwa Porcelain on the back of sealing a deal with Egyptian-based Al-Dahbya group is to enter into a similar deal with Afghanistan. Dankotuwa Porcelain CEO Wasaba Jayasekara told the Business Times that this month the company will sign a sales agreement with a company in Afghanistan to supply exclusive designs of its products. Al Dahbya deal is worth US$350,000 (Rs. 50 million) and the Afghanistan deal will also fetch the company significant revenue, he said. more..

Capital Gains Tax deters FDI

Apr 10 (SO) Tax experts said the country is grappling with the challenge as to what is the ideal combination of taxes to promote businesses and trade endeavours and for it to be a preferred destination for Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs). Tax Consultant N.R. Gajendran said the policy statement of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe provided an overall direction as to how taxation should be directed as we approach 2020. more..

Public Service under Yahapalanaya: A Rant

Apr 10 (ST) When I entered the Ministry of External Affairs to get my education certificates validated, I was pleasantly surprised to see the orderly queue the crowd had formed. It was, admittedly, a form of musical chairs without the music, but it worked. The queue moved along regularly, and I was getting closer to the lady who would give me my application form. What happened next may not come as much of a surprise to readers. As it was about to become my turn, a burly STF man, more..

CCC on 19th foreign tour

Apr 10 (CT) The leading Cricket Coaching School in Sri Lanka, founded and guided by the legendary Cricket Coach Nelson Mendis, will be making its 19th tour abroad when it's Under-15 and Under-13 cricket teams take wing to India on 15 April 2016. They will be back on 24 April. CCC School of Cricket was started in 1998 and has been in the forefront of Junior Cricket Coaching and has done yeoman service in helping thousands of young cricketers to learn the basic skills of the game and more..

‘Centre firm on bridge across Palk Strait’

Apr 10 (Hindu) Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Pon. Radhakrishnan said the Centre was firm in its proposal to build a bridge across Palk Strait, connecting Dhanushkodi, the eastern tip of Rameswaram island, and Talaimannar in Sri Lanka. Talking to reporters here on Saturday, he said the project was in the preliminary stage but the govt was firm in going ahead with it and realise the dream of Mahakavi Bharathi. more..

Lokubandara used Rs. 18 mil of public funds

Apr 10 (SL) Governor of the Sabaragamuwa Province, W.J.M. Lokubandara had allegedly utilised Rs. 18.55 million of public funds to give personal gifts to various parties in 2014. This had come to light after the audit report for 2014 was carried out by the Auditor General’s Department. The investigations had revealed that the governor had stepped beyond the regulations and there were discrepancies in the purchasing of goods from suppliers and their payments. more..

CID probe on wreaths blocked

Apr 10 (SL) An investigation by CID on wreaths purchased in an alleged fraudulent manner by former President Rajapaksa has been blocked owing to some individuals in Attorney General’s Department. CID sources said that they had launched investigations into the purchase of wreaths when Rajapaksa was President from a leading florist in Colombo. Former President had ordered expensive wreaths using public funds and at times he had also obtained bills for the wreaths more..