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Police chief stakes rise after AG appointment

Feb 13 (EN) President Sirisena overlooking the senior most state legal officer in choosing the attorney general has fuelled speculation that the same criteria - ability over seniority - will decide the next police chief. President had initially suggested three names -- Suhada Gamlath, Kapila Jayaratne and Jayantha Jayasuriya -- and wanted Constitutional Council to pick a candidate. However, Council sent the names back to President more..

Video: Eight arrested over bicycle theft

Feb 13 (DM) Eight people were arrested by the Bambalapitiya Police on charges of stealing four three-wheelers and selling after cannibalizing them. Police said two were arrested yesterday and based on their statements the other six suspects and the three-wheelers were taken into custody today. “The arrested will be produced in Courts,” Police said. Meanwhile, the Police released CCTV footage of a man stealing a bicycle outside a tuition class in Ja-Ela seeking public assistance to more..

Top legal firm to assist Kusal Perera

Feb 13 (DN) Vibrant opener Kusal Perera's cricketing future lay at the hands of his lawyers as he prepared to battle out his case against doping charges brought against him by the ICC's Anti-Doping Committee. The wicket-keeper/batsman was tested positive for a banned substance in early December and faces a lengthy ban from international cricket. Perera is currently serving a provisional suspension imposed by the ICC until his case is heard. He has time till end of April. more..

Colombo committed to reconciliation

Feb 13 (Hindu) Aimed at designing a reconciliation mechanism in the post-civil war SL, Minister Mangala Samaraweera appealed to the victims on both sides of the divide to participate in a consultation process. A task force, comprising 11 citizens, has been constituted with Manouri Muttetuwegama, a senior advocate, as chairperson. It came into existence formally on Friday with Mr. Samaraweera launching its website. more..

Significant growth predicted for local construction sector in 2016

Feb 13 (Island) "The construction sector will record significant growth this year with the active participation of the private sector in Sri Lanka, president, SL Institute of Architects Harsha Fernando said. "The private sector recorded minute growth under the previous regime but is now picking up, he said. "During the previous regime, only the govt was actively involved in the construction work due to their infrastructure projects. Now the private sector is playing a pivotal more..

Major General Sumedha Perera appointed new Deputy Chief of Staff

Feb 13 (SLA) Major General A.K.S Perera, Commander, Security Force Headquarters - Central (SFHQ-C) has been appointed as the Deputy Chief of Staff in the Army, effective from 16 Feb 2016. Major General Perera, more popularly known as Sumedha among his associates is attached to the Gajaba Regiment and has a career span of more than 35 years. He replaces Major General E.M.M Ambanpola who is retiring in a couple of days. Here follows a brief profile of Major General more..

Maj. Gen Milinda Peiris new Chief of Staff

Feb 13 (SLA) Major General Milinda Peiris, currently the Vice Chancellor at Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (KDU) has been appointed as the new Chief of Staff (COS) of the Sri Lanka Army effective from 12 Feb 2016. Major General Milinda Peiris who has a distinguished career in the Army for 35 years is attached to the Sri Lanka Armoured Corps (SLAC). He is the 47th Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Army, more..

New Blood transfusion to UNP

Feb 13 (NS) In a dramatic turn of events within the UNP, party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe will shortly restructure the high command of the party to infuse new blood into the top level administration in a bid to pave the way for future leaders, party sources revealed. Wickremesinghe is now studying the pattern of performances of all Members of Parliament at the last presidential and parliamentary elections to identify prospective young members who performed well. more..

FCID net closes around top MPs

Feb 13 (CT) Investigations into several cases of corruption and fraud allegedly committed by some of the most prominent MPs and high-ranking officials of the previous regime are said to be nearing completion. FCID investigations into a sum of Rs 3.5 million alleged to have been illegally earned by a minister of the previous regime have not to date been able to establish justiciable facts so far. A senior Police official said that around 35 cases relating to which investigations had been more..

Navy halts Yoshitha probe

Feb 13 (NS) All investigations conducted by Board of Inquiry of the Navy on Lieutenant Yoshitha Rajapaksa has been temporarily halted due to his arrest on allegations of money laundering, Navy Spokesperson said. Navy appointed a Board of Inquiry to probe several issues including Rajapaksa’s educational qualifications and his overseas travels which were not approved by Navy Commander. more..

Fonseka’s Welikada cell gets facelift

Feb 13 (CT) Speculation is rife in political circles as to which prominent MP or State official of the previous regime will next be incarcerated. The speculation has been triggered by the fact that the infamous 'S' ward of the Welikada Prison in which former Army Commander Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka and late actor turned politician Vijaya Kumaratunga were detained is being hurriedly renovated. FCID and the PRECIFAC are currently investigating several cases of more..

Video: Thisara claims hat-trick

Feb 13 (DM) Thisara Perera became only the fourth bowler to have taken a hat-trick in T20 internationals when he picked the wickets of Hardik Pandya, Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh of successive deliveries during the second T20 match. After that brilliant 19th over, 26-year-old all-rounder ended with a figure of 3-0-33-3. Thanks to his exploits, Lankans somehow managed to restrict the innings under the 200-run mark. Brett Lee became the first bowler to pick a hat-trick in T20I more..

Parliament amends fisheries laws on EU guidelines

Feb 13 (FT) In an effort to fall in line with European Union regulations, Parliament yesterday adopted new laws amending the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act No.2 of 1996 to take action against offences committed beyond the maritime borders of the island. The new measures are expected to improve Sri Lanka’s appeal to overturn a ban on fishing exports to the EU, which came into effect early last year. more..

Wages Board allowances increased to spur attendance

Feb 13 (FT) Parliament has passed new regulations under the Wages Board Ordinance to encourage members of the respective boards to participate in meetings to widen the scope of industries. The new regulation increased the allowance of Rs.400/- paid to Wages Board members appointed by the Minister to Rs.1, 500/- and the members representing employees and employers from Rs.500/- to RS.2, 000/-. Moving the new regulations for approval, Minister John Seneviratne noted more..

Korea's Saemaul Undong to assist four rural villages for export market

Feb 13 (DN) Saemaul Undong Center in Korea will assist four rural villages to be converted as major export oriented villages soon. Global Saemaul Undong Centre Cooperator, in Sri Lanka Lee Doo Won said that with this intention they have already picked two villages in Eheliyagoda and Rambukkana. "We will provide them technical assistance and even equipment and groom them to manufacture products suitable for the Korean market." more..

No agreements which will endanger economy & culture of country: President

Feb 13 (PSL) President Sirisena emphasized that the Govt will not enter into any agreement, which will endanger the local economy and the culture of the country. President pointed out that even though the political rivals spread false rumours regarding the agreement to be signed with India in the future, these are baseless allegations. He made these observations participating in an opening ceremony of ready mixed concrete factory more..

Radio: The signature tune must be unity

Feb 13 (DM) Switch on your radio today, though it is difficult to tune into the correct station because there are about 75 channels in Sri Lanka alone. Today is the annual World Radio Day, celebrating radio, why we love it and why we need it today more than ever despite the growing popularity or influence of television and the social media. It is a day to remember the power of radio to touch lives and bring people together across every corner of the globe, according to UNESCO, more..

National anthem sung in Tamil a step in reconciliation?

Feb 13 (DM) Singing of the National Anthem in Tamil not only brought tears into the eyes of many Sri Lankans, it also redrafted the history of Sri Lanka and turned a new chapter in its future discourse. The brave step of President Maithree and PM Wickremesinghe did not spark anticipated backfires from the ultra-nationalistic movements, except for some petty remarks by the Rajapaksa camp entirely driven by political agendas. There were a significant number of references in the social media but more..

Wildcats in the shadow of the leopard also vanishing

Feb 13 (ST) The death of a full-grown jungle cat at the hands of a speeding motorist late last month highlights the worrying fate of these animals while public concerns focus on fatalities of their more magnificent cousin, the leopard. Photographs of the dead jungle cat lying stretched across a road near Wilpattu were published on social media by a saddened local motorist, Saranga Dissanayake who said he had also seen a more..

Prabhakaran’s daughter born in Nuwara eliya

Feb 13 (CT) The sun was scorching them. But the morning coldness had still not died down. Cold sunny morning makes one lazy. She was silent. She smiled as her nipples wetted with milk. She tried to imagine that her new born baby, Thilina Sandaruwan as named in the registry of birth, might have fallen asleep. She was trying to appease herself with that. She thought her environment was not suitable for a new born baby. more..

IMF audit on MR projects

Feb 13 (DM) The IMF will visit Sri Lanka next week for a joint Forensic Audit with the Central Bank to check on the rationale behind the development projects worth US$250 billion launched by the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime just before the 2015 presidential elections, a senior cabinet minister said yesterday. Minister Sarath Amunugama said the consensual govt was in a dilemma as to how capital investment could be raised for those more..

TPC and ITAK in talks as draft proposals come out

Feb 13 (SL) The Tamil People’s Council (TPC) and the ITAK have had talks in what is speculated as being part of an attempt to settle differences between both sides. The talks took place last week after the TPC made public a set of draft proposals for a political solution to the Tamil issue. However the talks between the TPC and ITAK were kept low key, and full details of the discussion were not made available to the media. more..

Revisiting the forcible arrest of Sarath Fonseka by Army on Feb 8th 2010

Feb 13 (DBS) Gardihewa Sarath Chandralal Fonseka, Sri Lanka’s one and only Field Marshall is very much in the news these days. The former army chief who was once described as the world’s best military commander by former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is now a national list MP of UNFGG. It is also being speculated widely that he would be allocated a cabinet portfolio in the days to come. more..

Certificates of Absence for missing persons

Feb 13 (CT) Parliament was told yesterday that the govt intends issuing Certificates of Absence to families of those who have been reported missing irrespective of the causes attributed thereto. Minister of Home Affairs, Wajira Abeywardena informed Parliament that the government was considering issuing Certificates of Absence for approximately 20,000 persons who have been reported missing. more..

'11 Joint Opposition MPs not for new party'

Feb 13 (DN) Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama revealed that 11 MPs of the Joint Opposition have clearly said that they won't join the new party while 4 to 5 MPs are begging Malik Samarawickrama for UNP membership. He said that statement of MP Mahinda Rajapaksa with regard to statement of UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Al-Husain, cannot be considered as a truthful or an honest statement. more..

Parliament will decide whether to allow foreign judges: Harsha

Feb 13 (Island) It was up to Parliament to decide whether to allow foreign judges to be involved in the war crimes investigation, Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva said. Responding to a question raised by UPFA MP Udaya Gammanpila in Parliament the Deputy Minister said that various countries and organisations had made requests to the govt to ensure the participation of foreign judges in the war crimes probe. more..

SLFP members in UNP-led coalition urged to join Joint Opposition

Feb 13 (Island) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday urged those members who had switched their allegiance to the UNP-led coalition to join the Joint Opposition. The former SLFP leader said that he expected them to take a decisive step soon. The appeal was made amidst hectic preparations for the formation of a new political movement involving left political parties, MEP, NFF and PHU. more..

ICRC offers to work with Govt to assist families of missing

Feb 13 (CG) The ICRC has offered to work with the Govt to assist the families of those reported missing, the Foreign Ministry said today. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with the ICRC delegation in Sri Lanka have held a meeting with the participation of representatives of relevant line Ministries and Agencies to discuss the ICRC report titled: Needs of the Families of Missing Persons in Sri Lanka: Living with Uncertainty. more..

Alleged Prado duty fraud: Misinformed JVP leader misleads the parliament

Feb 13 (CT) On 27th Jan 2016, JVP Leader, Mr Anura Kumara Dissanayake, made a revealing statement in the parliament, alleging that on the orders of the DGC Chulananda Perera and Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, a large number of Toyota Prado jeeps (180 units) seized by Customs, have been released only on recovery of 1.6 million rupees of additional duty for each vehicle. Anura K further alleged that the govt had incurred a colossal revenue loss of over 4.7 billion rupees, more..

Successfully test-launches rocket in Mawathagama

Feb 13 (CT) Minister of Technology and Research Susil Premjayanth says that all possible assistance will be given through the Arthur C. Clarke Centre for Modern Technology to Thivanka Neranjan, a 23-year-old amateur inventor from Mawathagama, in the Kurunegala District who has tested a rocket successfully. The minister made this remark at the Scientia 2015 festival geared to enhance knowledge in science and technology at the Kularatna Hall, Ananda College, Colombo yesterday. more..

Dr. Harsha De Silva

Death threats to Speaker: No trivial matter

Feb 13 (CT) In a startling revelation, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya told Parliament on Wednesday that he had received death threats demanding that he give recognition to the Joint Opposition as an independent group in Parliament. According to the Speaker, he was threatened by a caller on Tuesday night, the day he refused to recognize the Joint Opposition as an independent group saying that he did not intend to be a party to a sin of splitting a political party. more..

And now for the other independence

Feb 13 (ST) Another independence day – the 68th since we gave the British the brush off or so some say – has come and gone. The bugles are silenced. The swords are back in their scabbards, the soldiers back in their barracks. The high and the mighty who sat on the stage on Galle Face Green have returned to their state – provided homes in Colombo or wherever, their duty seemingly done. Country’s freedom and sovereignty are in safe hands. There was some early flutter in official dovecotes more..

WikLeaks: Americans sabotage Senaka Bibile’s pharmaceutical policy

Feb 13 (CT) It was alleged and widely believed that the US govt played a key role in sabotaging Professor Senaka Bibile’s Pharmaceutical policy. Leaked US Diplomatic Cables show that US did play a key role in sabotaging the drug policy which the Sri Lanka State Pharmaceutical Corporation tried to implement. At the time, Pharmaceutical companies in the country made considerable money by selling drugs under their trade names, more..

Sri Lanka disasters study shows commercial losses exceed physical damage

Feb 13 (EN) Losses to industries and commerce from disasters are four times higher than that of physical damage, according to a new study on the impact of disasters in Sri Lanka. In the recent past Sri Lanka has been experiencing an increase in natural disasters with their frequency and impacts considerably affecting the economy and development gains, according to the study published by the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA). Small scale entrepreneurs were most more..

NPC too begins probe into Embilipitiya death

Feb 13 (Island) The National Police Commission yesterday began a probe into the death of Sumith Prasanna Jayawardena following a clash with the police on Jan. 10 in Embilipitiya. The NPC yesterday questioned HQI of Embilipitiya, Chief Inspector S.R.J. Dias for more than three hours. Relatives of Sumith have accused the police of pushing him off the building where the clash occurred. The police insist that the victim in a state of inebriation jumped off an upper floor. more..

Video: 'Claims by MR on UNHRC baseless'

Feb 13 (DM) State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene refuted claims made by former President Rajapaksa that the UNHRC resolution would make provision to arrest SL military forces personnel and that govt was also assisting the UNHRC to achieve this. “Former President Rajapaksa, former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and members of the joint opposition say we are assisting the UNHRC to arrest our armed forces more..

Three-day workshop for MPs on new Oversight Committees

Feb 13 (Island) A 3-day workshop had been organised to introduce the Sectoral Oversight Committees for all MPs, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya announced. Sectoral Oversight Committees is a new procedure to be adopted in SL Parliament. Speaker said the workshop would be conducted with the help of several foreign experts. It will be held from Feb 15 to 17 from 9 am to 4 pm at a Committee Room in Parliament complex. Speaker invited all MPs to attend workshop. more..

Railway toilets for locals to be on par with those for expats: GMR

Feb 13 (ST) Foreigners Only toilets will remain at railway stations in the country, while toilets for locals will be upgraded to the same standard, said General Manager of Railways (GMR), B.A.P. Ariyaratna. The move to upgrade toilet facilities comes following the exposure in the Sunday Times that highlighted how locals were being discriminated with Foreigners Only toilets being well maintained, while toilets for locals were appalling with no maintenance at all. Measures will also be taken to remove more..

Sri Lanka says it takes maritime security seriously

Feb 13 (CG) Sri Lanka takes the security of sea lanes and maritime security in the oceans around the island seriously, SL’s Ambassador to the US, Prasad Kariyawasam said. He said that SL is eager to work with the maritime powers of the Indian Ocean and beyond, to make SL’s oceans secure for unimpeded commerce and peaceful navigation. “We are determined, as it is in our interest, to work with the maritime powers more..