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Boston Lanka with Nehara: Part 2

May Day: Political muscle flexing, sore throats and tired feet

Apr 24 (SL) May Day is still one week away but in Sri Lanka preparations are on to Celebrate May Day not as an event to mark International Workers Day as in many countries but as a demonstration of the strengths of political parties and even cabals under extremist political organisations. May Day celebrations are the contribution of the country’s Marxist parties and were originally dedicated to win labour rights for workers at a time no other established party more..

Joint Opposition back to square one with MR

Apr 24 (SL) The race to hold a successful May Day rally come next Sunday has now reached the last lap with the SLFP led by President Sirisena and the joint opposition led by former President, Rajapaksa both turning towards power play rather than the best interest of the country. The internal rift within the SLFP that has been a simmering pot for the past few months, or more precisely since last Presidential election, has now reached a boiling point with the forthcoming May Day celebrations. more..

Who’s facing President Maithri’s axe?

Apr 24 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisenain at his home town Polonnaruwa addressing his people to greet them for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year said that he will not allow so-called economic experts to burden the public with increased taxes. He added that some experts are not aware of the suffering of the people and he will ask such experts to go home. President was commenting on the media reports that more..

Sirisena’s bid to out-maneuver Mahinda

Apr 24 (Island) As the political atmosphere in the South heated up with all the issues relating to May Day, another bombshell came from the north with the Northern Provincial Council adopting a resolution calling for a federal state for the north and east. Though the govt kicked off the constitutional reform process earlier this month, the cry for federalism coming from the north may throw the spanner in the works even before the process has begun. A few days ago, the TNA leader R. Sampanthan more..

Split in EPDP

Apr 24 (CT) One of the founder members of the EPDP, Murugesu Chandrakumar, who held the position of the Deputy Chairman of Committees in the previous Parliament playing a supportive role in the political activities of his leader Douglas Devananda, has quit the party saying the people who have placed their confidence in him are claiming EPDP has lost credibility. Now 52-year-old Chandrakumar joined the EPRLF's military wing, People's Liberation Army (PLA), more..

We have no grudge against anyone

Apr 24 (CT) We do not have a personal grudge against the Joint Opposition but we want them to join hands with the SLFP to make the Party stronger, the General Secretary of UPFA Mahinda Amaraweera, said. Q: It's been a while now since you were appointed the Minister of Fisheries. Do you think you have provided enough benefits to the fishermen in Sri Lanka? A: Ministry of Fisheries was handed over to me to solve the problems of more..

Cricket's brain drain

Apr 24 (Island) As a nation, Sri Lanka has suffered for many decades due to the exodus of our best talented professionals to affluent nations. Economists call it brain drain. Gradually it has hit cricket too as we have seen some of our best in the sport migrating to other nations. The current cricket administration in order to get SL back to glory days did certain moves and one of them was to bring in former coach Graham Ford. Although generally cricket coaches are offered 2 year contracts, more..

Missing All-rounders Telling Factor

Apr 24 (CT) We did discuss the Sri Lanka tour of England in our last column, and also suggested a few names that have to be included going forward. It's most encouraging to note that the provisional squad of twenty named for the tour for the Test series has some of them and appears to be near certainties for the tour. It was no surprise to see Lahiru Thirimanne's name missing from the probable's, as he carries a serious hamstring injury and is in the process of recovery. more..

Changes to SLC constitution in the offing?

Apr 24 (SO) If things work out the way they are being planned then the present elected body of Sri Lanka Cricket will not have a long run in office. Moves are a foot with govt backing to change the constitution and the voting system of Sri Lanka Cricket. As a first step towards achieving that goal there is a possibility that the present SLC administration that was elected to office on Jan 3 will be dissolved and in its place an interim more..

Rugby’s contradictions and confusions

Apr 24 (ST) S. Thomas’s College won the Gunaratne Trophy much against play and the dominating Royal maul. The try by Naveen Henakankanamge sealed the game which would have been won much earlier if the boys from mount played to their strength and also taken the decisions that should have been taken. Despite the win, talk still circles around the maul and the referee. The non-contest of line out and the issues were clarified by the World Rugby then IRB based on more..

Sudden transfers irk ministry officials

Apr 24 (CT) Senior Assistant Secretary of the Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitaion, resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Lankadari Senaratne and Assistant Secretary K. Nichorilkanth were transferred to the Ministry of Public Administration and Management recently in a sudden move. The Sri Lanka Accounting Services Association said the Chief Accountant of the Ministry R.W.K. Perera and Accountant M. M. Maheer had also received transfer letters. more..

Bangladesh objects to Sri Lanka’s request

Apr 24 (CT) Last week Bangladesh challenged Sri Lanka's request of extension of territorial waters as per UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) Article 76, paragraph 8. However, it is noted that SL can challenge this objection by placing its case before the International Seabed Authority (ISA). It's time for Sri Lanka to engage with the ISA to reap benefits that other countries enjoy – deep sea wealth. more..

MR visits famed Temples in Thailand

Apr 24 (CT) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa made his first trip abroad yesterday since his electoral defeat in Jan 2015. He boarded a SriLankan Airlines flight for Udon Thani, in Thailand at 7.20 p.m. yesterday, accompanied by Prof.G.L Pieris, MP Salinda Dissanayake and WPC member Upali Kodikara. Udon Thani is well known for its Buddhist culture and temples. Within a few kilometres of Udon Thani is the well known temple, Wat Pa Baan That, home for many years to more..

Investments from China, India, Japan: FDIs picking up

Apr 24 (SO) Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) which have been drying up for over a year will get a fresh boost with investments anticipated from China and other regional countries this year, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said before his departure to Washington to attend the 2016 spring meetings of the IMF and the World Bank Group. He said Sri Lanka is not impacted by the global economic meltdown that has crippled many major economies across the world. more..

President emphasizes on better transport service

Apr 24 (PSL) President Sirisena presided over a discussion on the new proposals presented to reform the public transport service in the Central Province, held today (22) at the Presidential Secretariat. The discussion was held with participation of the sectors related to the proposals presented by the Provincial Public Transport Authority, Uni of Moratuwa and the Strategic Enterprise Management Agency, more..

Sri Lanka participates in biggest European Trade Show for natural products in London

Apr 24 (Island) Sri Lankan tea traders held successful business meetings with prospective UK and European buyers at the recently concluded Trade Show in London. The trade show Natural & Organic Products Europe held at the Excel-London Centre had a Sri Lankan pavilion. It is considered the biggest European trade show for natural products. Members of Small & Medium Size Enterprise exporters from Sri Lanka participated in this show. Uva Halpewatte Estates Ltd, more..

Sri Lanka needs long term plan and political will to implement it

Apr 24 (ST) A long term plan with clear guidelines and the political will to implement it without change is what Sri Lanka needs most, a departing envoy has said. “The govt needs to have a long term plan with clear guidelines and stick to it without having so many changes in policies from time to time,” noted German Ambassador for SL, Juergen Morhard said. Spending the last few months of his term of office here, he said, “You cannot make all (the) people happy with regulations (laws), more..

MR lackey DIG to spill the beans?

Apr 24 (SL) Following the arrest of former OIC, Narahenpita Police Crime Branch, for concealing evidence related to the death of rugby player Wasim Thajudeen, former DIG Anura Senanayake has reportedly agreed to expose the details. Former OIC, IP Sumith Perera, was arrested on Tuesday, for his alleged involvement in concealing Thajudeen murder details, and the former OIC Kirulapone Police too is alleged to have taken more..

MS in pow-wow with LG reps

Apr 24 (SL) President Maithripala Sirisena has convened UNP and UPFA representatives of local govt bodies for a friendly gathering, it was reported. A public representative of a Municipal Council, who has participated in the initial gathering where a dinner was held, said that the UNP LG representatives were convened on April 18 at the Fort Presidential Palace and a discussion was held on the forthcoming LG elections. The following day the President has reportedly convened those more..

30 new degree programs introduced

Apr 24 (SO) The student intake for universities has been increased by 10% this year and around 30 new degree programs have been introduced, UGC Chairman Prof. Mohan de Silva said. The student intake for the academic year 2015/16 would be 27,603 after the 10% increase and the UGC hopes to continue increasing the student intake by 10% annually. He said the UGC will follow a diversification process by introducing the new courses to match the employment demands more..

'We will seek dual citizenship for SL Tamils'

Apr 24 (PTI) AIADMK president and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today asserted her party would take continuous steps to attain a separate homeland for Tamils in Sri Lanka and demand that the Centre grant dual citizenship for refugees from the island nation living in the state. Addressing an election rally, she said she has been continuously demanding an independent, international probe over war crimes and more..

MR, JVP ignore govt bid for reforms

Apr 24 (SL) The Public Representations Committee on Constitutional Reforms (PRCCR) said although the committee had sent written invitations to Former President Rajapaksa and the JVP requesting them to submit their views on the constitution, they have not responded. Asked for a comment, Chairman of the PRCCR Lal Wijenayake said that it is disheartening to note that the former President and the JVP are yet to send their views and suggestions about the new constitution. more..

D.B. Nihalsinghe's funeral today

Apr 24 (SO) The funeral of veteran film director, cinematographer, editor and producer, Dr. D.B. Nihalsinghe will be held today at 10.00 am, at the General Cemetery, Borella. Marking the end of an era, Nihalsinghe, who was honoured with the title Professor of cinema and television passed away on Thursday, April 21, at the age of 77. Nihalsinghe was awarded the Cardiff Commonwealth Film Festival award for his first film, Bhakthi in 1971 and Kelimadala (1992). more..

Move to rush back export earnings

Apr 24 (ST) Govt, in a dramatic late night move, has frozen a 1993 rule permitting exporters to keep their money overseas without restriction and ordered that all earnings must be immediately brought to Sri Lanka – or face the consequences. Even in the worst years of a foreign exchange crisis (2001 and 2009), then govts avoided such draconian controls, analysts said. Friday’s move, according to exporters, economists & tax experts more..

Mahinda to be offered top-notch position?

Apr 24 (SL) President Maithripala Sirisena-led UPFA is to consider a proposal by UPFA local govt councillors to offer a top-notch position to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to ease MR-MS tensions in the run-up to May Day Rally. The National Committee of the Provincial Representatives of the UPFA has proposed to offer a more senior post to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at SLFP District Executive Committees for him to actively participate in party activity. more..

FIU freezes bank accounts of Shalika directors

Apr 24 (SO) Bank accounts of the five directors of Shalika Foundation and their middle man Priyankara Jayadeva have been frozen by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the Central Bank. Highly placed CID sources told the Sunday Observer that it was the FIU and not the CID that had frozen these accounts, given the Foundation’s suspected involvement with the Bangladesh bank heist which took place in February. The Foundation had USD 20 million transferred to its own bank account. more..

Sirisena faces May Day test of strength, growing challenge from pro-Rajapaksa ‘JO’

Apr 24 (ST) He neither put a halt to new taxes nor sent home the govt’s economic advisors who reportedly recommended them. Yet, President Maithripala Sirisena was able to ensure a few concessions were offered when the VAT, the biggest burden for low and middle income groups, becomes effective. There is still an element of uncertainty when a VAT increase to 15% comes into effect though it is currently scheduled for May 2. more..

The 65,000 Housing Question: Disaster capitalism arrives in Jaffna

Apr 24 (Island) Let us call a cage, a cage, and not a steely home in a palmyrah grove! The controversial US$ 1 billion contract with ArcelorMittal to build 65,000 steel houses in the north smacks of all the vices of corrupt global capitalism and none of the virtues of a free market economy. ArcelorMittal is the world’s largest steel producer, the outcome of the 2006 takeover of Arcelor (itself a conglomerate of Spanish, French and Luxembourg companies) by India’s Mittal Steel, & subsequent gobbling up more..

Wasteful Public Displays, Strikes and ad hoc protests

Apr 24 (Island) SL has almost certainly the largest number of public holidays of any country. From an individual and personal point of view, most of our citizens are very happy that this is so. In contrast, those persons and organizations that have tight deadlines of any kind to meet can hardly be expected to be pleased that their employees are statutorily required to work only a little over one-half of the days in the year, taking into account weekends, public holidays & personal leave more..

Police chief: Secret ballot and one spoilt vote

Apr 24 (ST) Even if Speaker Karu Jayasuriya cautioned members of the Constitutional Council regarding media leaks about their deliberations when they met last Monday to select a new Police Chief, the story was out. In the absence of a consensus as to who should become the IGP from among three recommended by President Sirisena, the matter was put to a vote in a secret ballot. Five members of the Council voted in favour of more..

Shake-up of NMRA in the offing?

Apr 24 (Island) A shake-up of the troubled National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) is on the cards in the backdrop of Sri Lanka’s crucial health sector facing an unprecedented dearth of essential drugs and medical devices, officials said. "We have so far identified around 500 vital pharmaceutical products and devices, which are no longer available for the treatment of the sick and the ailing", more..

Pay no bribes to meet me: Finance Minister

Apr 24 (EN) Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake Sunday announced uncovering a racket where visitors were asked to pay bribes if they wanted to meet with him and vowed the full force of the law against the culprits. Just say no, Karunanayake said in a half-page advertisement in Sunday newspapers using the public to help him fight corruption. He said the authorities had already identified the individuals involved. more..

Tender bender at Airport travel counters

Apr 24 (CT) Mystery surrounds the manner in which the Ministry of Civil Aviation is planning to award the contracts to the bidders for the operation of the travel counters at the Arrivals Lounge of the BIA where the selected bidders are among the lowest and not the highest in consonance with any accepted tender procedures. The controversy now surrounds the manner in which two shortlisted bidders who have submitted bids more..

Daylight robbery

Apr 24 (CT) Electricity consumers are paying for the massive financial frauds and corruption of LTL Transformers (Pvt) Limited owned by unscrupulous businessmen for a long time. Lanka Transformers Limited was established in 1980 to manufacture transformers needed for the CEB. It has changed its name several times and now it is known as LTL transformers Private Limited. But it has expanded its business establishing more..

MP Aluthgamage in money laundering soup

Apr 24 (SL) Following a request made by the CID to the courts seeking permission to check bank accounts of former minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage, his wife and son, Colombo Additional Magistrate on Wednesday April 20, had ordered banks to assist the CID in their investigations. MP Aluthgamage is accused of involving in frauds and money laundering activities and is to face legal action as there is substantial evidence to more..

‘War not over until SL Tamils achieve justice and self-determination’

Apr 24 (Island) British Opposition Leader, Jeremy Corbyn said that until Sri Lanka’s Tamils achieve justice and self-determination the war is not over. Addressing a meeting organized by Tamils for Labour at the committee room in the Houses of Parliament last week, Corbyn said the Labour Party is committed to the cause of the Tamil people. Although it is said that 2016 marks the seventh anniversary of the end of the conflict, more..

Govt seeks American & Indian assistance to investigate illegal offshore accounts

Apr 24 (Island) The govt has sought American and Indian assistance to investigate suspicious offshore accounts held by some Sri Lankans, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. He said among the funds being probed were accounts in Dubai held by some powerful persons in the previous regime. Pointing out that not all offshore financial dealings were illegal, the minister said that some of the individual more..

Lifting of fish export ban: EC miffed over early announcement

Apr 24 (ST) The European Commission (EC) has objected to Thursday’s early announcement by the Fisheries Ministry in Sri Lanka that the ban on Lankan fisheries product exports to Europe has been lifted by the European Union. Taking up the matter through diplomatic channels in Brussels, the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) has sought clarification on how the announcement was more..

Minister wrings SLT ears amid calls for removal of chairman

Apr 24 (ST) Minister Harin Fernando has directed the board of Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) to ensure that the ministry is kept informed of all transactions and projects ensuring transparency. The directive came amidst growing differences between the minister and the board as to who was in charge of the multi-million rupee government controlled company and calls from trade unions for the resignation of the SLT chairman. more..