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'Returning to Motherland wining many benefits'

Feb 21 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena has stated that he is returning to the Motherland after concluding successful State visits to Germany and Austria wining many benefits for the betterment of the country. “My tour in Austria and Germany turned out to be very good. Concluding this tour, we have been able to bag many benefits. We have been able to convince the business community why they should consider SL for more..

Sri Lanka luxury resort lets you get away from it all despite the monkey business

Feb 21 (Mirror) Our first introduction to Sri Lanka was warm, traditional and rather formal. As we stepped out of our taxi at the beautiful Cocoon Resort and Spa, we were presented with flowers, invited to light the oil lamp that symbolises homecoming and wished Ayubowan – Sinhalese for welcome. Our second was more of a rude ­awakening. As dawn broke over the jungle behind our room a series of ear-splitting thuds on the roof sent us leaping out of bed. A falling tree? more..

Yoshitha’s ward a no-go zone

Feb 21 (SL) The special ward, in which former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s son Yoshitha Rajapaksa and four others have been remanded, has been declared a no-go zone. Two special prison officers have been stationed at the ward in which the suspects are remanded. According to sources the two prison officers have been instructed to monitor the VIP suspects round the clock. It has been revealed that without the approval of the two prison guards no one can enter or leave the ward. more..

Industry backs SriLankan Airlines’ move to retain European flights

Feb 21 (ST) SriLankan Airlines, looking for ways to cut huge losses and debt accumulated during the last regime, this week decided to continue flying to key European destinations, barring Rome, reversing earlier plans to discontinue or reduce these flights. Move drew welcome relief from all sections of the travel industry. Separately the airline was in serious discussions with lessors on how and whether it was possible to exit from more..

Top official of former regime faces arrest?

Feb 21 (SL) Top defence official of the former regime is facing imminent arrest as the investigations into the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda enters its final stage. Several top military officers and soldiers have already been arrested in relation to the case and with the investigations in the final stages, top defence officials of the former regime, who gave orders to detain Eknaligoda, are the only remaining suspects to be arrested. more..

Startling revelation

Feb 21 (ST) Indian Coast Guard has told a Chennai High Court that the SL Navy has neither trespassed into Indian waters nor attacked Indian fishermen in Indian waters. From Jan 2014 to March 2015 as many as 36,865 Indian fishing boats poached in SL waters. In a startling disclosure through an affidavit filed by K.R. Nautiyal, Deputy Director General of the Indian Coast Guard, the Coast Guard has said Indian fishermen are not only showing scant regard for international law but more..

Disclosing source on remittances over Rs. 200,000: No CB gazette notification

Feb 21 (SO) Central Bank has not issued any gazette notification to disclose the source on remittances of over Rs 200,000 in banks, as per a newspaper report last week, CBSL’s Finance Intelligence Unit, Director H. Amaratunga said. “Sri Lanka needs foreign exchange in its forward march and we should encourage the inflow of foreign remittances to the country,” he said. Central Bank has issued gazette notifications to bring our more..

Army to probe Capt. Tissa’s role

Feb 21 (CT) A top ranking official of the Army said that Captain L.M.T. Wimalasena, alias Captain Tissa, was summoned twice by the CID for questioning in connection with the murder of Wasim Thajudeen. He said the Army was awaiting information from the CID in order to commence a Military Investigation into Captain Tissa's alleged connections to the murder. Source added that since the CID is carrying out an investigation into the connection Captain Tissa had with more..

Tamil prisoners reject parole terms

Feb 21 (SO) The release of Tamil prisoners in detention under the PTA hit a snag as the prisoners refused to accept the flexible terms of parole the govt has offered, Minister D.M. Swaminathan said. Govt offered a one-month commuted prison term and one year rehabilitation to over 60 of the 108 prisoners, apart from those charged by the court, but they refused the offer in the High Court, pleading not guilty and seeking a general presidential amnesty on the advice of their lawyers, more..

Ban on animal sacrifice in the offing

Feb 21 (SO) Animal sacrifice in all Hindu shrines in the island will be banned under a new law that is to be introduced soon, Minister D.M. Swaminathan said. He said he will present the Bill in Parliament at the end of this month. Prevention of Animal Sacrifice in Hindu Shrines Bill is now being drafted by Legal Draftsman’s Department. This would be a significant milestone in promoting Hindu religious concepts, since animals sacrifice more..

Rs 2 M heist thwarted

Feb 21 (CT) Two suspects were arrested in an attempt to rob the owner of a Filling Station in Homagama yesterday when he was on his way to the bank to deposit over Rs 2 million. The proprietor of the filling station had arrived at the bank with Rs 2.3 million in a bag when the two suspects, who had arrived on a motorcycle, pointed a gun at the owner to relieve him of the money. But before the two suspects could flee, a Police Constable who was at the scene had pursued the suspects more..

PRECIFAC final report to President soon

Feb 21 (CT) The final report of the Special Presidential Commission investigations into former President Rajapaksa allegedly failing to pay a sum of Rs.101 million to the ITN, being costs of 2015 Presidential Election propaganda advertisements aired by that network, will be submitted to President Sirisena next month. Secretary to the Commission Lacille de Silva said that a copy of the final report will also be sent to the Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya. more..

Here’s the Gazette the Finance Minister doesn’t know about

Feb 21 (ST) Central Bank, through a Gazette notification, appears to have stymied declared efforts by Minister Ravi Karunanayake to invite those abroad to remit money to SL, assuring no questions will be asked. This Gazette extraordinary notification on Jan 27, 2016 (date in English is erroneously stated as Jan 27, 2015 at the top but has correct dates in Sinhala & Tamil) was published by Financial Intelligence Unit of CB. more..

COPE likely to resurrect CB bond probe

Feb 21 (ST) The COPE is likely to re-examine next week the controversial bond issue by the Central Bank (CB) in which a firm associated with the son-in-law of CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran was allegedly favoured in the bids Parliamentary sources said. They said that COPE is meeting on Thursday,and this issue is expected to arise. “Either way – whether to proceed, how to proceed or not to proceed – the CB issue would be raised by MP-members,” one source said. more..

Two CSC ships to be sold due to payments crisis

Feb 21 (ST) Sri Lanka is seeking buyers for two Chinese built bulk carrier ships purchased in the past five months by Ceylon Shipping Corporation (CSC) with a People’s Bank loan the corporation is unable to pay back the loans. Bids are to be soon called from interested parties for this purpose. Two ships were intended for transporting of thermal coal imported for the coal fired power plant in the country. First ship was delivered in Oct last year and the second in Jan this year. more..

Changing face of North: Region growing faster than any other

Feb 21 (ST) The thundering roar of a MiG-27 engine on training sorties over the skies of this peninsula revived memories of the brutal three-decade-long separatist war. Hindu Primary school students in the town area panicked. A teacher asked them to lie flat on the ground in the mistaken belief that an air raid was imminent. Some screaming and others trembling did just that. Still fresh in their minds were the days when more..

Unbecoming free-for-all over Indo-Lanka Trade and Economic Co-operation

Feb 21 (Island) The doctors and the PM have got under each other’s skin. The back and forth between them is unbecoming and unproductive. There is no point in mentioning the unmentionable, but the subject matter of contention, namely, trade and economic co-operation with India deserves not only an open but also informed discussion. For mysterious reasons, the government has not been open and forthcoming about the ongoing talks between Indian and Sri Lankan officials. more..

The Constitutional Council and the tale of the Emperor's New Clothes

Feb 21 (Island) PM stated on the floor of Parliament that the Constitutional Council had not yet been able to determine the procedures for the performance of its duties and functions as required by Article 41E (6) of the Constitution. He attributed the delay to the urgency with which the Council had to proceed to make appointments to the independent commissions. He explained that, as an interim measure, Council was utilising the procedures that had been adopted in 2002 more..

How official was the President’s State visit to Germany

Feb 21 (ST) In the Foreign Affairs Ministry corridors, the talk is on who was responsible for a blunder during President Maithripala Sirisena’s four-day visit to Germany. Was it a state or an official visit? If one is to believe Karunatilake Amunugama, a one-time Chief of Protocol, a key player in the Foreign Office during the previous Rajapaksa administration and now Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Germany, it was a state visit. more..

Burdened with debt, Sri Lanka turns to the Islamic world for help

Feb 21 (ST) Sri Lanka, burdened by debt and a growing payments schedule, is appealing to the Islamic banking world for financial help, applying for membership of the Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and drafting the necessary Sharia-compliance regulations required for this purpose, official sources revealed. During a recent visit by a high level SL delegation of bankers headed by Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran more..

Surukku and Laila nets used in illegal fishing methods banned from today

Feb 21 (Island) The Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry announced that Surukku and Laila fishing nets used in illegal fishing methods have been banned with effect from today. Under the instructions of Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, National Aquatic Research Agency (NARA) conducted a study on non-environmental friendly fishing methods using by fishermen. The study revealed that fishing methods such as more..

Ex-ITN head, key officials to be charged

Feb 21 (SO) Former chairman of the Independent Television Network (ITN), Anura Siriwardene, and several key ITN officials are likely to be charged separately under the Penal Code and the Bribery Act for financial irregularities committed during the former administration. The matter is currently being probed by the PRECIFAC and a final report is due within a fortnight. The inquiry is primarily based on serious financial irregularities. more..

Iranian Contractors will pay compensation

Feb 21 (CT) Engineer Dr. Sunil De Silva, Project Director of the Uma Oya Project, said that owners of 890 houses damaged in the process of construction of the project have been identified and will be paid monitory compensation by the Iranian construction company FARRAB before long. He added that meanwhile Cabinet approval was pending for the payment of a sum of Rs 360 million to meet costs of implementing 3 water supply more..

Deep rift in Joint Opposition over leadership

Feb 21 (SL) A deep rift over former Minister Basil Rajapaksa has threatened to split the join opposition. Sources said that joint opposition members Prasanna Ranatunga, Wimal Weerawansa, Udaya Gammanpila, Mahindananda Aluthgamage and Dullas Alahapperuma have expressed their displeasure over Basil Rajapaksa. There has been a proposal to get Basil Rajapaksa involved in the new political party more..

Sri Lankan woman murdered in Melbourne

Feb 21 (9N) A man has been charged with murder over the death of a 48-year-old Melbourne mother who was found with severe upper body injuries in her own home last week. Police said the 21-year-old man from Lara, near Geelong, had been remanded in custody after an out-of-sessions court hearing on Saturday night, and would appear before Melbourne Magistrates Court today. Investigators allege he entered the home of more..

Facebook plot to kill MS, Ranil: Court orders arrest of suspect

Feb 21 (ST) Colombo’s Chief Magistrate has ordered the arrest of a suspect who through his Facebook page allegedly called for the assassination of President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe. Judge ordered Immigration Controller to arrest and hand over the suspect to the CID after the Cyber Crimes Division of CID told him that the suspect’s Facebook messages posed a serious threat to President and PM. more..

No scope for Indian influx through ambulance service, India assures Lankans

Feb 21 (ENS) Indian official sources clarified on Saturday, that there is no scope for an influx of Indian personnel into Sri Lanka through the India-aided Emergency Ambulance Service which is to be introduced in two Lankan provinces shortly. Mahinda Rajapaksa-led Joint Opposition Group (JOG) had alleged that the service, to be run by the Hyderabad-based GVK Emergency Management and Research Institute with a grant of US$ 7.6 million more..

PM slams protectionists, economic nationalists as traitors

Feb 21 (EN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe slammed protectionist businessmen and trade unions who are opposing free trade for the poor as traitors, taking a leaf from the book of economic nationalists who had long called their critics unpatriotic. "It is traitors who are opposing a trade agreement with India which can create large numbers of jobs," PM told after inspecting, Hambantota, where infrastructure more..

India seeks extradition of man with LTTE links arrested in Singapore

Feb 21 (CG) India has sought the extradition of a man arrested in Singapore who is said to have had links with the LTTE. Senior officials in Mumbai Police have claimed that it was the resources of new Mumbai Police Commissioner Datta Padsalgikar that helped Singapore authorities nab wanted fugitive Kumar Pillai in a raid two weeks ago. According to senior Crime Branch officials, Pillai of the infamous Kumar Pillai gang had been on the radar of the investigators since January. more..

The deflation of Mahinda Rajapaksa

Feb 21 (Island) Mahinda Rajapaksa’s (MR) political clout and much acclaimed image have been dented in the last six weeks. The erosion started with the defeat of the party that he (not Sirisena) led in the August 2015 elections but accelerated in 2016. We need to explore this from many angles as the implications are far reaching. MR’s image did not suffer irreparably when he lost in January 2015 as witnessed by the faithful who trekked in their thousands to Carlton Lodge to venerate and more..

Stop bullying now

Feb 21 (CT) Bullying is a form of aggressive behaviour manifested by the use of force to affect others, especially, when there is an imbalance of power. Bullying includes verbal harassment, physical assault or coercion, and may be directed repeatedly towards particular victims, on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability. The imbalance of power is derived from social or physical power. more..

Governance tomorrow

Feb 21 (Island) A conversation I had recently was anchored to why, based on survey research conducted by the Centre for Policy Alternatives a previous column has dealt with in greater depth, those over 55 were less inclined to interact with Govt officials and more interested in their updates. In contrast, those between 18 – 24 wanted much higher interactivity, and far less packaged propaganda. The conversation was around what fuelled the interests of each demographic. more..

Why Sri Lankans fear India

Feb 21 (Island) News of the recent India – Sri Lanka Joint Commission trickling into the public domain appears to be grim and very unfavourable to Sri Lanka. The single most important bilateral issue between Sri Lanka and India, namely poaching by Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan territorial waters, has supposedly received a one line mention in the minutes of the meeting. The minutes reportedly had been prepared in Delhi and sent to Colombo for comments, rather than being prepared by more..

LTTE ran Vietnam style torture camp

Feb 21 (CT) During the war in the North, the LTTE had the habit of attacking the army and police, capturing them, taking them away and imprisoning them. Thousands of soldiers and policemen suffered under the LTTE. In the line of duty army and police personnel sacrificed their lives to protect the country. Only a very few escaped from the clutches of the LTTE and returned to the South. We have published stories of such people more..

Rape of Lanka’s seas worsens

Feb 21 (ST) As the SL Govt looks the other way, poaching by Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan waters in the Palk Strait has taken a serious turn with the use of pair trawling where two steel hull boats scrape the sea bottom. Navy Commander Ravindra Wijegunaratne confirmed that the new method, now in operation, destroyed marine resources more rapidly. Earlier, the Indian fishermen had been using nets drawn only by a single trawler and that too within Sri Lankan territorial waters. more..

Promises to Women

Feb 21 (Island) Just after I was duly shocked, even disgusted, at the rumpus created by the Other Opposition led by Dinesh Gunawardena and you-know-who-else on Tue 8 Feb demanding recognition of them as a separate Party in Parliament, I got an email sent me by a friend which was timely. The parliamentarians seated on opposition seats got down to the well of the House during the crucial debate on increasing the representation by women in Pradeshiya Sabhas. more..

Star studded 50+ cricket tournament in Lanka

Feb 21 (ST) Six teams will be in fray for honours in the first 50+ International Cricket One Day Tournament which will begin on Tuesday in Sri Lanka. Among the participants are Pakistan, two teams representing UK, England North and England South and three teams representing Sri Lanka, namely Cavaliers, Blue Lions and Quadrangular. The entire tour will has been planned with the tournament and more..

CID awaits President’s return to arrest Uduwe Dhammaloka Thero

Feb 21 (SL) CID is awaiting the return of President Sirisena to arrest Uduwe Dhammaloka Thero for having in his possession elephants without valid documents. CID sources said that the Attorney General (AG) has given the clearance to arrest the monk but the CID is awaiting the President’s return from Europe before making any moves. CID fears a tense situation may arise if the monk is arrested and as such they feel it would be best to act when the President is in the country. more..

First case under witness protection act against Gnanasara

Feb 21 (SL) The first case under the Victim and Witness Protection Act in Sr Lanka is to be heard against Venerable Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero. The case was filed against the Gnanasara Thero for threatening Sandya Eknaligoda, the wife of missing journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda when the case was heard at the Homagama Magistrate’s Court. Previously there were no laws to protect witnesses or victims and the new Victim and Witness Protection Act came to be as a result more..

Maldives frees three accused of hiring Sri Lanka sniper

Feb 21 (Haveeru) Three people arrested over a plot to assassinate the president that involved a sniper brought into Maldives from Sri Lanka have been released. A police spokesperson said the the three men arrested on Dec 17 were released by the Criminal Court for lack of evidence. He, however, did not give details. Confirming the arrest of the Sri Lankan sniper for the first time, police said in a statement in Nov more..