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Tardiness of AG’s Dept. perturbs President

Feb 2 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena had expressed concern about the slow pace at which the Attorney General’s Department worked, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said in Colombo yesterday. "The inordinate delays at the Attorney General’s (AG’s) Department in recent times as regards cases and giving its advice, came up for discussion at a meeting presided over by President Sirisena recently," Senaratne revealed, more..

Douglas seeks trial through video

Feb 2 (PTI) The counsel for former SL Minister Dougles Devananda, an accused in a 29-year-old murder case here, today furnished in a Sessions Court the e-mail ID of the Indian Embassy in SL to enable conduct of the the trial through video conferencing. Additional Govt Pleader submitted that the incident took place in the year 1987 and the police with a great difficulty produced the prosecution witnesses in the court. more..

Video: Doctor killed husband with hammer after their sex with teen

Feb 2 (WA) A Geraldton doctor decided to kill her husband because she was concerned about the sexual relationship they had both formed with a teenager, a court has been told. Chamari Liyanage is on trial in the Supreme Court accused of murdering her doctor husband, Dinendra Athukorala, at their Shenton Street home in June 2014. It is alleged Dr Liyanage fatally injured Dr Athukorala when she repeatedly hit him with more..

Active contribution of religious leaders urgently needed

Feb 2 (CT) As we commemorate our Independence Day in 2016, I like to make a humble appeal to all the religious leaders of the island to help the political leaders and the people to make their best decisions for the good of all in the island. We are at a decisive phase in our history to move courageously away from the evils of the past and make a reasonable and common sense change for the better. During the last decades we all have gone through bitter experiences of life and death, of conflicts and more..

Kandy District SLFP elected representatives opt to contest from new party

Feb 2 (Island) At a meeting attended by 184 SLFP people’s representatives a decision was taken to contest the forthcoming local government elections from a new political party under the patronage of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. The meeting was held at Peradeniya Rest House on Sunday and the 184 persons present were out of the 207 SLFP people’s representatives in various local bodies of the Kandy District, Kandy district MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage said. more..

Ashoka Abeygunawardana

Shares post near 3-wk closing high

Feb 2 (Reuters) Shares rose for a fourth straight session on Tuesday to close at their highest level in nearly three weeks, led by Expolanka Holdings after a major shareholder bought an additional 16% stake in the company. Japan-based SG Holdings Global acquired the stake at 8.30 rupees per share. Expolanka shares rose as much as 6.7%, their biggest intraday percentage gain since Jan. 17, 2015, before settling 4% higher. Stock accounted for 67% of the day's turnover. more..

The Blue Wall of Silence

Feb 2 (CT) Who polices the Police? What do we do when the gatekeepers of the law themselves need to be questioned on their own integrity? The Embilipitiya Magistrate sent shock waves around the country when he ordered that the Embilipitiya ASP and Headquarters Inspector (HQI) be arrested in connection with the clash which resulted in the death of 29-year-old Sumith Prasanna on 4 Jan. The much anticipated arrests however, did not take place and all we saw were a bunch of transfers more..

SL-India power link pre-feasibility complete

Feb 2 (LBO) Pre-feasibility studies for Sri Lanka India HVDC transformation link have already been done in collaboration with power grid India and CEB. “There is a big opportunity here,” Damitha Kumarasinghe, director general of Public Utilities Commission said. “Now India is connected to Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and SL is the country which is outside this grid at the moment and there are power deficits at more..

Ekanayake scotches rumours

Feb 2 (CT) The appointment of Gampaha District MP Chathura Senaratna as the Minister of Land is a false claim according to the State Minister of Land T.B. Ekanayake. He also said govt has not made such an appointment. MP Chathura Senaratne, son of Minister Rajitha Senaratne, was reportedly going to be given the Lands Ministry that remains vacant following the death of M.K.D.A.S. Gunwardena. Democratic National Movement (DNM) led by him, entered into a MoU at last general election more..

Railway Unions declare war over govt failure to keep promise

Feb 2 (Island) Railway Trade Union Alliance has called on all public sector workers and railway department employees to resort to trade union action to pressure the govt to increase the salaries of state sector employees without further delay. Media statement signed by RTUA co-conveners S.P. Withanage and D.M.D. Abeyratne says that govt has reneged on its promise to increase the salaries of public sector workers and the workers are left no alternative but to struggle to make more..

Video: Impeachment motion if National Anthem sung in Tamil: PHU

Feb 2 (DM) An impeachment motion could be brought against President Maithripala Sirisena if he allows the National Anthem (NA) to be sung in Tamil violating the Constitution, PHU General Secretary Udaya Gammanpila said. He said according to Section seven of the 1978 Constitution currently in force, NA could be sung only in Sinhala. “A two-thirds majority in Parliament and a referendum is needed to change the NA or more..

Lankan Tamils seek right to sing national anthem in their language

Feb 2 (Dawn) The controversial issue of Lankan Tamils singing the Tamil version of the national anthem has cropped up again as Sri Lanka gets ready to celebrate its Independence Day on Feb 4. As both Sinhalese and Tamil are official languages in the country, the Tamils of Sri Lanka have asserted that they would like the Tamil version to be sung at the Independence day function along with the Sinhalese version. Some of those with loyalties to former president Mahinda Rajapaksa more..

Video: Woman arrested with gold biscuits worth nearly Rs 40m

Feb 2 (AD) A 50-year-old woman from Chavakachcheri has been arrested today with 70 gold biscuits worth nearly Rs 40 million. She was arrested with the gold, weighing 7kg in total, near the Sangani railway station in Chavakachcheri, Jaffna according to information received by Jaffna SSP. Woman had arrived from Madaval in Jaffna in a van at around 4.00am. Police found 70 gold biscuits, each valued at Rs 562,000, in her possession and therefore the total gold is more..

Ford faces huge Sri Lanka rebuilding task

Feb 2 (AFP) New SL coach Graham Ford acknowledged he faced a huge rebuilding task after a string of recent retirements as he began his second stint in charge of the islanders. South African said he was honoured to return to SL, whom he previously coached from 2012 to 2014 but urged fans to be patient after a recent slump saw the side tumble down Test rankings. "For a coach, it is really a special group of lads to work with," more..

Navy recover bodies of 3 missing fishermen

Feb 2 (AD) Five bodies of fishermen, who were missing since Sunday after their boat collided with a ship off the Galle coast, have been found by Sri Lanka Navy (SLN). The bodies were found in the vicinity of the mid-sea incident during search missions carried out using navy Dvora patrol boats. The bodies are currently being transported by boat to the Galle Harbour, he told Ada Derana. The fishermen in question and their boat Sagara Putha reportedly set out to sea on Sunday. more..

Yoshitha declines prison meals

Feb 2 (DM) Four suspects including Yoshitha Rajapaksa, who were remanded over alleged financial irregularities at the CSN, had declined the food provided by the Welikada Prison, Prisons Spokesman Thushara Upuldeniya said. He said that permission was given for Yoshitha and four others to get all three meals from their home from yesterday morning. “Declining food provided by the Prisons Department and bringing them from outside is a privilege for any prisoner. more..

U.S. trade official Michael Delaney visits SL

Feb 2 (USE) On Feb 1, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for South Asia Michael J. Delaney visited Colombo and met with govt, trade, and business officials ahead of the upcoming Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) talks in Washington. Delaney met with Minister Malik Samarawickrema and representatives from Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Public Enterprise Development, Board of Investments, more..

US importers of Sri Lanka OTR tyres fight dumping claim

Feb 2 (EN) Importers of off-the-road tyres from Sri Lanka, India and China are fighting a dumping claim by a US tyre maker and trade unions who are asking for punitive duties to limit competition. Importers have said that claims of dumping are a gross misrepresentation of facts and a cyclical downturn is responsible for a drop in Titan, a US tyre maker,, a news portal said. They had also said lower raw material costs caused OTR tire prices to fall in the US, more..

Deputy Ministers to push President to abolish FCID

Feb 2 (CG) Several Deputy Ministers from the SLFP have decided to push President Sirisena to abolish the police FCID. Later speaking to the media, Deputy Ministers visited Yoshitha Rajapaksa, son of former President Rajapaksa, at the Welikada remand prison today. Deputy Ministers said that they will demand from the President that he abolish the FCID saying it is illegal. Deputy Ministers said that if the President fails to agree to their demand they are prepared to resign from their Ministry posts. more..

Police arrest ASP after public pressure

Feb 2 (EN) The CID Tuesday arrested an ASP after an intense media outcry over a police attack that led to the death of a 29-year-old man. ASP Dharmaratne was questioned at the Police Garage where he was posted by IGP N K Illangakoon despite a court order last week for his immediate arrest. The failure of the police to arrest ASP Dharmaratne who is implicated in the death of Sumith Jayawardena was criticised even by more..

Sri Lanka celebrates World Wetlands Day

Feb 2 (GDI) World Wetlands Day is celebrated internationally each year on 2 Feb. It marks the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) in Ramsar, Iran, on 2 Feb 1971. Wetlands for our Future: Sustainable Livelihoods is the theme for World Wetlands Day in 2016. This theme is selected to demonstrate the vital role of wetlands for the future of humanity and specifically their relevance towards more..

Mahinda slams decision to sing National anthem in Tamil

Feb 2 (CG) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa today slammed the decision to sing the National anthem in Tamil during the independence day celebrations on Thursday. Rajapaksa claimed that the Govt had decided to sing the National anthem in Tamil to please India. He said that the National anthem should be sung in one language and not two or three languages. He noted that even in India where several languages are spoken, National anthem is sung only in one language. more..

New customs duty valuation to discourage motor vehicle imports

Feb 2 (DM) The new customs duty valuation proposed in the Budget 2016 will come into effect shortly, greatly reducing the number of vehicles coming into the country. The new customs duty valuation proposed in the Budget 2016 will come into effect shortly, greatly reducing the number of vehicles coming into the country. “It will come into effect shortly and the imports of electric vehicles & vans will go down 100%” more..

Fonseka's DP to join UNP tomorrow

Feb 2 (AM) Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka's DP will join the UNP tomorrow. A MoU is expected to be signed between the two parties, formalising the joining of the DP to the UNP. Fonseka is likely to be appointed as a national list MP in the coming days. He will occupy the seat left vacant by the demise of former Minister MKADS Gunawardena. Deputy Minister Harsha De Silva said today that the details were being finalized at discussions between the Field Marshal and party general secretary. more..

All set for Independence Day ceremony

Feb 2 (DN) All arrangements have been finalised to hold the 68th Independence Day ceremony on February 4 at the Galle Face Green under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Home Affairs Minister Vajira Abeywardena said yesterday. He said parallel to the main celebrations of the 68th Independence Day, an all-night Pirith chanting ceremony will be held at Independence Square in Colombo today from 10.00 p.m. more..

Mahanayake calls for brand new Constitution

Feb 2 (CT) Chief Prelate of Malwatta Chapter Most Ven. Tibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Thera says instead of trying to bring amendments to existing Constitution, govt should look to introduce a brand new Constitution by dispensing with Executive Presidency. Thera stated instead of attempting to formulate a Constitution in secrecy govt should seek views of the people when drawing up a new Constitution. more..

UN Human Rights chief to visit SL this week

Feb 2 (PTI) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad Al Hussein will visit Sri Lanka this week amid an uncertainty over foreign judges' involvement to probe the alleged atrocities committed during civil war with the LTTE. Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha de Silva on Tuesday said the UN rights chief will be in Sri Lanka for four days from February 6. He will hold talks with leaders from the govt and the opposition, and would also meet civil society members. more..

GMOA spearheads move to get people to eat healthy food

Feb 2 (Island) GMOA has urged the public to change their food habits and help battle the high incidence of non communicable diseases (NCDs). GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya, addressing the media, quoting 2006 health statistics, said 30% of Sri Lankans had been either overweight or obese. 11-15% of children had been either pre-diabetic or diabetic that same year. In 2006, 1/5 (20 percent) adults had been diabetic or prone to the disease, Dr. Padeniya said. more..

Video: Refer Yoshitha's case to Court without delay: Nimal Siripala

Feb 2 (DM) While emphasizing the necessity to have a speedier judicial system to hear sensitive and public interest cases, SLFP ministers today urged govt to refer the charges against Yoshitha Rajapaksa to Court and to let it decide his innocence or guilt. Senior SLFP Vice President Nimal Siripala De Silva said that there were serious allegations levelled against Yoshitha and that SLFP politicians & supporters were concerned about the arrest more..

Who needs Facebook friends with enemies like Gotabaya?

Feb 3 (CT) Karl Marx said that history repeats itself, once as tragedy, twice as farce. How about three times, as an even more farcical share on Facebook? How else to describe the spectacle of Gotabaya Rajapaksa using the social network to share a link to the Colombo Telegraph, the very website that he and his brother worked so hard to censor when in power? Liking the share hardly seems right – though 769 people so far have, and 183 more have shared it on. Rajapaksa brothers’ time in power saw more..

Relevance of British concern about accusations against UK war veterans

Jan 3 (Island) HMS Defender arrived, in Colombo, on Jan 30, on a brief visit. Type 45 Destroyer left on the following day. British High Commission asserted that the naval visit, the first in four years, signified developing defence relations between the two countries, since the conclusion of the conflict, in May, 2009. The warship is on a nine-month deployment in the Middle East, and it’s her second assignment. It would be interesting to know whether HMS Defender had been scheduled to visit more..

'Tainted reputation difficult to overcome'

Feb 3 (SO) Prof. Siri Hettige, Chairman of the National Police Commission (NPC) and a Professor of Sociology, compared the attempt to overhaul an institution, similar to rehabilitating an alcoholic. In an interview with the Sunday Observer, Prof. Hettige, who halted his career as an academic to give leadership to the NPC admitted that even with sweeping reforms, winning back public trust would not be easy for the police force. more..

Yoshitha and Charles Anthony

Feb 3 (CT) A glance at a decade in the past records that Mahinda Rajapaksa's son, Yoshitha joined SL Navy in Dec 2006. When Yoshitha joined the Navy, Mahinda proudly announced that unlike other world leaders, he had given his son to fight the war to protect the country. Maha Sangha was full of praise for Mahinda hailing him as a true patriot. When Mahinda gave his son to the Navy, Prabhakaran's son, Charles Anthony was already fighting the war against the SL troops in the jungles of Vanni. more..

The Leader and the Led: Politics of ignorance and ignorance of politics

Feb 3 (GV) Racial, ethnic and religious disharmony is as inevitable as death in a pluralist state where more than one race, ethnicity or religion shares the same geographical boundaries and its resources among themselves. It is inevitable not because of the rich diversity that is natural in societies but because of blatant ignorance that is present collectively; The lack of knowledge and empathy to see the other as a fellow human being, made of the same flesh, blood, emotions and needs, more..

Introduce pension scheme without abolishing EPF and ETF

Feb 3 (CT) Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne, said the govt should introduce a pension scheme for the private sector without abolishing the existing EPF and the ETF. He also said the SLFP is of the view that executive powers of the President should not be abolished. Q: You held the same portfolio in the PA govt of Chandrika Kumaratunga. Now that you have returned to the same ministry, what are the differences you notice? more..

Try swearing, Prime Minister

Feb 3 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s tirade on the media and journalists can, and should be viewed at many levels. Firstly, the threats are most objectionable coming from a man who pays lip service to media freedom and everything that is wholesome. Obviously, he seems to believe in quid pro quo from the media for his promises to safeguard media freedom. This constitutes a conspiracy to distort democracy. At another level however, the threats expose his desperation, more..

Crouching Tiger and hidden agenda

Feb 3 (Island) The stage has been set for the arrival of Emil Kanthan here. A top Tiger, he is described as the LTTE’s Finance Manager. An open warrant and a red notice on him were dissolved on Monday. Why Emil Kanthan is coming here at this particular juncture is only too well known to merit elaboration. How he should be dealt with in respect of charges against him in cases before courts is best left to the judiciary. But, the fact remains that he must be treated as a terrorist. more..

General Daya Ratnayake

The political challenge of carrying the people through transitional justice

Jan 3 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena’s rejection of foreign involvement in the judicial accountability process in Sri Lanka has once again brought to the fore the difficult issue of war crimes in the course of the war. The most controversial aspect of UNHRC resolution that was co-signed by SL govt last October was the need for international participation in the judicial accountability mechanism. UNHRC resolution stated that it "affirms that a credible justice process should include more..