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UK High Commission clarifies removal of Defence Attache

Feb 7 (SO) The withdrawal of the Defence Attache position from the High Commission of UK in Colombo was due to the review of the UK govt's defence adviser network in its diplomatic missions, UK High Commission in Colombo says in a statement clarifying the interview with High Commissioner James Dauris published in the Sunday Observer last week. High Commission statement says that in the interview, headlined Great expectations, High Commissioner Dauris more..

Constitutional Reform Committee sittings: Where are the youth?

Feb 7 (SO) Over 1,500 proposals have been submitted to the Public Representation Committee on Constitutional Reforms (PRCCR), Chairman, Lal Wijenayake said. This was the total number submitted as far as written submissions via mail, email, fax, social media, personally handed over to Secretariat and at public sittings in four districts in 12 days. “There was a lack of youth representation at all the sittings. Committee would like to see an increased participation of youth,” more..

Geneva issue: Govt earmarks 11-member Task Force

Feb 7 (ST) An eleven-member Consultation Task Force will enforce provisions of the US-backed resolution which was jointly sponsored by Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva last year. Its work will be carried out with the help of a UN expert who will arrive in Colombo next week. He is Pablo de Greiff, Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence. more..

Eknaligoda’s disappearance: Four more arrests imminent

Feb 7 (SO) The CID investigating journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda’s disappearance, is set to arrest four more Army intelligence personnel connected to the incident in the coming days. Already six people of the Army intelligence unit have been arrested and four others will be arrested based on the analysis of mobile phone data used in the incident. CID has gathered evidence against Army intelligence personnel to charge them with illegal abduction, detention and disappearance of more..

Mobile phone found in Yoshitha’s possession

Feb 7 (SL) A mobile phone was found in the possession of Yoshitha Rajapaksa at the Welikada Remand Prison. Mobile phone fell from his pocket when he was returning to his cell after he met his father, former President Rajapaksa at the remand prison. However, prison sources said that no action was taken by the officers who accompanied Yoshitha to his cell when the mobile phone fell out. A senior prison official however said he was not aware of such an incident taking place. more..

President defends FCID even though SLFP ministers call for its disbanding

Feb 7 (ST) Last Saturday’s arrest of Lieutenant Yoshitha, second son of former President Rajapaksa, continues to reverberate in many quarters. One such instance is the weekly ministerial meeting on Wednesday. Ministers representing the UNP were livid that one of their SLFP colleagues had, wanted the FCID, which made the arrest, disbanded. The previous day, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said what he more..

Blood gets thicker in Colombo, cracked coconut waters flow in Seenigama

Feb 7 (Island) The organizing principles, social structures and superstitions, as well as the modern institutions of Sri Lankan politics have been in raw display over the last few weeks. The roles of religion, kinship, the courts and the media have been clashing and criss-crossing as political manifestations. A former president was publicly distraught over the arrest and arraignment of one of his sons. Another former president’s daughter waded into the fray defending more..

Let’s work with PM to pulverise racism

Feb 7 (Island) One swallow does not a summer make, but then a swallow is a swallow (no pun intended). At last the PM lashed out in Parliament on 28 Jan; he should have done it long ago but one has to be thankful that he did take a stand. Will he keep it up? Indications are encouraging; Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero and Yoshitha Rajapaksa are cooling their backsides in the lock up (for a week or two at least), Wasim Thajudeen’s murders may soon be arrested. more..

If Sushma won’t go to Mangala he will go to her

Feb 7 (ST) Like on the previous occasion there were no lassies in rows, attired in reddai-hettai holding coconut oil lamps and gyrating to the beat of drums at the entrance to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Perhaps that ritual, invented by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, is only for VIP visitors from the US. In what seemed unusual, India’s visiting External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj did not visit more..

Colombo JMO to submit report on Sicille’s health condition on Monday

Feb 7 (Island) The Colombo Judicial Medical Officer was directed by Fort Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage to submit a report on the health condition of Mrs. Sicille Kotelawala. The Magistrate visited Durdan’s Hospital, where she was warded and ordered the report to be forwarded to court on Monday. A former deputy chairperson of the Ceylinco Group, Mrs. Kotelawala has been placed under CID custody until February 9. more..

Poor rubbish collection hatching more dengue menace

Feb 7 (ST) Councils’ failure to collect garbage is worsening the spread of dengue, Central Epidemiological Unit Director Dr. Paba Palihawadana said. About 4,500 dengue cases and eight deaths were reported since early this month. Colombo has the highest dengue population with major breeding spots being Maligawatta West, Cinnamon Gardens, Kirulapone, Bambalapitiya, Wellampitiya, Modera, Mattakkuliya and Punchi Borella. more..

NPC govt Palihakkara quits office

Feb 7 (CT) The Northern Provincial Council Governor, a renowned diplomat H.M.G.S. Palihakkara has quit office. A spokesman for the Presidential Secretariat said, former Chief Minister of Western Province Reginald Cooray would replace Palihakkara. Palihakkara said that he had decided to retire since the period he had agreed to, with the govt to hold the position had expired, and hence he would be retiring. more..

Yoshitha in a small cell

Feb 7 (CT) It has been quite a week for the Rajapaksas. Within a span of one week three members of the Rajapaksa family were summoned for questioning either by the PRECIFAC or by the FCID. On 30 Jan, Lieutenant Yoshitha Rajapaksa, was arrested by the FCID along with four others in connection with alleged financial irregularities at the Carlton Sports Network (CSN) during the tenure o the previous govt. more..

Two baby elephants seized from Weliweriya temple

Feb 7 (SL) Under the instructions of the Attorney General’s CID, the Department of Wildlife Conservation on Friday evening seized two baby elephants from a Temple in Naranwala, Weliweriya. Investigations revealed that the baby elephants were given by the Venerable Kolonnawa Sumanagala Thero and Nirad Roshan alias Ali Roshan, both already facing legal action over having elephants in their possession without valid documents. more..

Appointments on hold as proposed NMDRA changes spark intense lobbying

Feb 7 (Island) Moves to initiate top level changes at the National Medicinal Drugs Regulatory Authority (NMDRA) have triggered intense lobbying with the powers-that-be, amidst a clamor by "connected parties" to foist aspirants of their choice to head this powerful body in the pharmaceutical industry, health officials asserted. Dr. Athula Kahandaliyanage and Dr. Kamal Jayasinghe, two respected medical more..

Mixed expectations as Zeid arrives

Feb 7 (SL) The ongoing visit to Sri Lanka by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, has brought mixed expectations, particularly from international human rights groups and the Tamil Diaspora. Leading international human rights groups told The Sunday Leader they expect Zeid to raise key issues including for the government to reaffirm its commitments and to make substantial more..

CSN case: No one will interfere, says Sagala

Feb 7 (DM) The rule of law would be upheld when perusing the case against former President’s son Yoshitha Rajapaksa and the others at the Carlton Sports Network (CSN) without any intervention by President, PM or any of the Cabinet Ministers, Minister of Law Order Sagala Ratnayake said in a statement. He said that the FCID had to seek permission from the Judiciary by producing the suspects before Courts to more..

Hot- hot allegations over coal tenders

Feb 7 (ST) It is often labelled Sri Lanka’s most lucrative tender. It is also one of the most controversial. For half a decade, coal procurement for the power plant in Norochcholai has been dogged by allegations of corruption and bid rigging. Former Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka coined the term coal mafia to allude to lobbyists he claimed were influencing the tender process. more..

Hearts and Minds

Feb 7 (Island) The thing is, you can’t browbeat Sinha-le, the BBS, Sihala Ravaya or the likes of Udaya Gammanpila. In recent weeks, opposition to racism has condemned those who promote divisive, inflammatory ideas and content. The PM threatened certain journalists and media institutions, and then threatened to take action against websites that promote racism. The President scoffed at Sinha-le proponents, saying they are unworthy of his attention. more..

Prisoners on death row to get life imprisonment

Feb 7 (SL) Following a set of recommendations made by a committee appointed to look into the death sentence issued on several convicts, it has been decided to convert the death sentence imposed on 34 of those convicts into life imprisonment. President had taken the decision after considering the reports on the 34 convicts submitted by the committee which was appointed by the former President. The committee has also finalized reports on another 60 convicts on death row more..

Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera

AG advice sought to arrest Uduwe thero

Feb 7 (SL) CID is yet to receive instructions from the AG to arrest the Venerable Uduwe Dhammaloka Thero for having in his possession elephants without valid documents. CID was conducting the investigations on this matter and the case has been called several times and the files have already been sent to the AG. ASP Ruwan Gunasakara also confirmed that that the files in this regard had been sent to the AG but so far the police had not received any instructions regarding the case. more..

Zika virus linked to GM-mosquito release!

Feb 7 (Island) Oliver Tickell, Editor of the respected British environmental journal The Ecologist, writing on February 2nd noted that, since August 2015, a large number of babies in Northeast Brazil have been born with very small heads, a condition known as microcephaly, and with other serious malformations. In all, 4,180 suspected cases had been reported till then. Epidemiologists had found a convincing correlation between the incidence of the natal deformities and more..

Education Ministry to rope in Int’l Schools

Feb 7 (DM) The Ministry of Education would bring in new regulations for International Schools to bring the education of International Schools under the purview of the Education Ministry, Ministry Secretary W.M. Bandusena said. The move follows the election manifesto of Govt. “The ministry will focus on the quality of education provided by international schools and facilitate them to upgrade more..

Anoma to be proposed if Fonseka is opposed

Feb 7 (CG) Some members of the UNP are to propose the name of Anoma Fonseka to be included in Parliament under the National List instead of her husband Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka. UNP sources said that there is strong opposition among some UNP members to have Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka fill the position left vacant by the demise of the late MP M.K.D.S Gunawardena. Sources said that if a majority of the UNP members oppose Fonseka’s inclusion then Anoma Fonseka’s more..

Sri Lanka on your platter

Feb 7 (Hindu) Sri Lanka, with close historical ties to India, boasts of a cuisine that is a confluence of many cultures. SL’s past is dotted with colonial influences from the Dutch and the British, not to forget the spread of Buddhism from India. As cultures interact, so do cuisines. But you don’t have to travel there just yet. You can sample some interesting Sri Lankan fare today at a food pop-up, organised by Payal Bhuptani and Upasana Maheshwari, founders of Don’t Give A Fork. more..

SL thump England to book semi-final berth

Feb 7 (CI) A fine performance by Sri Lanka's spinners was capped by a stroke-filled 95 from opener Avishka Fernando as they brushed England aside by six wickets to move into the semi-final of the Under-19 World Cup. England had won the toss and opted to bat, a decision their captain Brad Taylor defended quite strongly at the presentation. "We didn't think it did an awful lot early," he said and thought 250 could have been within more..

Independence Day Celebrations in New York

Feb 7 (Island) Sri Lanka Permanent Mission to the UN celebrated Sri Lanka’s 68th anniversary of independence today with two events. At a solemn ceremony this morning, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Dr. Rohan Perera hoisted the National flag in the presence of staff and well-wishers. In keeping with the govt’s commitment to post-conflict reconciliation efforts, and fulfilling one of the core recommendations of the LLRC, SL’s National Anthem was played more..

SB disappointed about Yoshitha’s situation

Feb 7 (DM) Minister S.B.Dissanayake said he was disappointed that Yoshitha Rajapakse, was remanded. Releasing a media statement the Minister said he was disappointed as a member of the SLFA about the incident. “It is well known that holding a position in a private company while being a public servant is illegal. The elders around him are also to be blamed for this incident. He is someone who has a bright future not only as a public servant but also as a politician,” Dissanayake said. more..

Blowtorch turned on Sathosa over 32m kg of rotting rice

Feb 7 (ST) The discovery that container-loads of imported rice are rotting in storage facilities and container yards for the past 10 months has turned on the heat on Lanka Sathosa Ltd. PRECIFAC last week said more than 32 million kg of rice had been found in the yards and storage facility of Lanka Sathosa without being distributed to consumers. Tests done by MRI on samples obtained from the containers have concluded that more..

National Peace Council on Independence Day boost to national reconciliation

Feb 7 (Island) The singing of the national anthem in Tamil that marked the end of the Independence Day celebration was a strong gesture of reconciliation by the govt. It was one of the most significant actions taken to lessen the sense of alienation of the Tamil speaking people and make them feel a sense of equal belonging to the national polity, National Peace Council of Sri Lanka said. It will also reignite hope and confidence that the govt will stay true to its mission of healing the wounds of many more..

Video: Mrs. World arrives to crown Mrs. SL

Feb 7 (DM) Marina Alekseychik, the winner of 2015 Mrs. World beauty pageant has arrived in Sri Lanka to attend the finals of Mrs. Sri Lanka for Mrs. World which is to be held on February 12 at Galadari Hotel. The National Director of Mrs. Sri Lanka for Mrs. World, Wasana Danthanarayana said Mrs. Marina Alekseychik will leave on February 12. She said the winner of Mrs. Sri Lanka for Mrs. World 2016, will be crowned by Mrs. Alekseychik. more..

Estate workers see red over bogus rice

Feb 7 (ST) Upcountry estate workers are being enticed by traders to buy glossy polished red rice unaware that they are buying rice dyed red that is unfit for consumption. They are being cheated into paying more for this rice: normal red rice sells at Rs. 65 a kilo but they pay Rs. 70 for the so-called polished rice. “When we wash the rice at home the water turns red and our hands become stained,” Kandasamy, Hatton resident, said. more..

Tax Appeals Commission defunct; Govt may lose billions

Feb 7 (ST) More than 200 tax appeal cases have been put on hold for the past six months due to the failure of the Govt to constitute the Tax Appeals Commission and the revenue loss to the state could be a staggering Rs. 6 billion, officials said. Govt risks losing the revenue due to it if it fails to complete the cases within the 270-day period (nine months) in accordance with the Tax Appeals Commission Act, they said. Under the Act any person aggrieved by the determination of Commissioner General more..

Nuwara Eliya blowing cold and hot; people falling sick

Feb 7 (ST) The weather in Nuwara Eliya is making people sick with patients seeking treatment in hospitals. Nuwara Eliya Hospital Director Dr Anura Jayasekera said the extreme cold weather experienced at night and early hours of the day and the increase in temperature towards afternoon had resulted in people suffering from skin ruptures, skin infections and bouts of asthma. He said there were also cases of heart patients suffering from stress due to the cold weather. more..

India to help repatriate and resettle Tamil refugees

Feb 7 (ENS) India will assist repatriation and resettlement of over 100,000 SL refugees living in camps in Tamil Nadu, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told S C Chandrahasan, head of Chennai-based Organization for Eelam Refugee Rehabilitation (OfERR) here on Saturday. India will be able to assist in the transportation of the refugees and provide for their livelihood in collaboration with SL govt, Swaraj said. more..

Sri Lanka forex reserves drop by a billion dollars to US$6.3bn in Jan

Feb 7 (EN) Sri Lanka's official forex reserves dropped by a billion US dollars to US$ 6,301 million in January 2016 from US$ 7,303.6 million, as money printing and credit continued to undermine the balance of payments. Forex reserves are now at a 5-year low around the level in 2012 when corrections were made. Though the central bank sterilized about a billion US dollars from a sovereign bond sale in November, boosting forex reserves to US$ 7.3 billion, money printed later more..

Ethanol investigations brought to the fore

Feb 7 (LT) Several officials of Department of Excise and twenty two officials from 24 state institutions were summoned to FCID to get evidence regarding incidents of illegally bringing ethanol during former regime. FCID is to decide, after interrogating the officials, whether the officials are suspects or witnesses regarding financial irregularities committed in the state institutions. Among the officials who were summoned were a former senior official of the National Lotteries Board, more..

Viber growing in Sri Lanka

Feb 7 (CT) Following is the question and answer session which Ceylon FT had with Anubhav Nayyar who is the Regional Head at Viber South Asia, a company belonging to Viber Media. Viber in this part of the world is headquartered in India At Viber, Nayyar heads the operations for South Asia and is responsible for business strategy, P&L, marketing and overall brand development. Q: What is Viber? more..

India keen to establish refinery, bunkering operations in Sri Lanka

Feb 7 (PTI) India is keen to establish refinery and bunkering operations in Sri Lanka, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Saturday and hoped the country will once again be in a position to export petroleum products to Bangladesh with the commissioning of Paradip refinery. Minister stated this during bilateral meetings with Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, Energy Adviser to Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina and Anoma Gamage, Deputy Minister of Petroleum Resources of SL. more..