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All SLFP amendments accepted; way cleared for making new constitution

Feb 24 (Island) Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera said UNP and SLFP had reached a consensus on drafting a new Constitution. He claimed that all proposals made by the SLFP had been accommodated in the resolution for the setting up of the Constitutional Assembly. A vote on the resolution would be taken tomorrow at 6.30 pm following a debate on Tuesday and Wednesday. MP was addressing the media immediately after more..

Health Service: Govt must deal with racketeers

Feb 24 (DM) With Sri Lanka’s Health sector still in crisis, the Daily Mirror has information about some shocking discoveries made by the National Medicine Regulatory Authority (NMRA) which was appointed last year to implement Prof. Senaka Bibile’s essential medicines concepts and provide quality drugs at affordable prices. Recently Health Minister Rajitha Senarathna called for the resignation of the NMRA’s Chairman Prof. Laal Jayakody and its CEO Prof. Krishantha Weerasuriya. more..

The agony of voting at elections

Feb 24 (DM) Emerging patterns leave eerie designs. Govt and the Opposition compete to court unpopularity. Both are incapable of winning a wide spectrum of confidence or goodwill. Local Govt elections, if held, may show a close call to decide, who is less unpopular and better equipped to cope with low esteem regionally. A floating voter, cannot be manipulated, and shall ultimately decide the winner after flirting around. Foresee a two-cornered contest, where ordinarily a govt in power more..

Catchers of the former regime still at work

Feb 24 (SL) In response to a critical media report claiming that the Central Bank has tightened the regulations when depositing over Rs. 200,000 to a savings account, Governor of Central Bank Arjuna Mahendran said that the above statement was made with regards to a circular that was six years old and currently under review. The issue came to light with the release of a media report alleging that, in the case of depositing more..

Sri Lanka vehicle purchases plunge after tax hike, leasing controls

Feb 24 (EN) Sri Lanka's new vehicle registrations have plunged around 50% to 31,854 units in January 2016 from peaks seen in Nov 2015 before a budget hiked taxes and leasing restrictions were slapped a month later. Total vehicles registration fell from 61,864 in Nov to 54,316 in Dec and 31,854 units in January, with Maruti, two wheelers and 3-wheeler bought by relatively less affluent people falling most, more..

Many questions raised on grads demanding mainly State jobs

Feb 24 (ST) Last week’s protest by the unemployed graduates demanding they be granted State jobs has opened up a debate as to why these youth holding degree certificates from reputed national universities cannot find employment in the private sector. According to the Unemployed Graduates’ Association there are around 25,000 graduates who have passed out of the fourteen universities and are jobless for the last four years. more..

'I also have criticisms about Basil Rajapaksa'

Feb 24 (DM) MP Namal Rajapaksa, responded to the many allegations thrown against the Rajapaksa regime. Q: It’s a very bad time for you, isn’t it? A: It is the nature of politics. Politicians do not have power for ever; it comes intermittently. When Mahinda Rajapaksa was in power there was not a trace of revenge on political opponents. But today even the children of opposition members are subjected to revenge. more..

Vasu wants FCID to probe LIOC deal

Feb 24 (Island) DLF leader MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara said that FCID should probe PM Ranil Wickremesinghe over his decision to bring Indian Oil Company (IOC) to Sri Lanka to compete with Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC). He stressed that the loss incurred by the country due to the then UNP govt’s shortsighted decision under the leadership of PM Wickremesinghe would exceed billions of rupees. more..

Wedding receptions at Sooriyawewa Stadium: Dayasiri

Feb 24 (DM) The Rs. 4.2 billion international cricket stadium built in a god-forsaken land in Sooriyawewa is being hired out for wedding receptions, Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera revealed in Parliament. The revelation comes just days after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe visited the sports facility last weekend and had discussions with relevant authorities on how to maximise the utilisation of the stadium in the future. more..

New Zealand PM to open Fonterra demonstration farm in Sri Lanka

Feb 24 (NZH) NZ PM John Key is visiting Sri Lanka this week to open a Fonterra demonstration farm, promote other commercial links with New Zealand and to chair an executive meeting of the International Democratic Union, an umbrella grouping of conservative political parties. It will be his first bilateral visit to Sri Lanka as PM although he attended the Commonwealth Heads of Govt in the island nation in 2013. more..

Mangala, Power discuss expanding Lanka’s role in peacekeeping

Feb 24 (CG) Minister Mangala Samaraweera and the US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power had talks on issues related to Sri Lanka. During the talks they had also discussed the possibility of expanding Sri Lanka’s role in UN peacekeeping operations. Samaraweera, who is in the US, also met other foreign diplomats based in New York and briefed them on the latest developments in Sri Lanka. more..

Kerry tells Committee US endorsed democratic progress in Sri Lanka

Feb 24 (CG) US said that in 2015, US Govt strongly endorsed democratic progress in Sri Lanka. US Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking spoke before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the State Departments FY2017 budget, said that important democratic gains have been witnessed in, among other places, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, & Burma. US Govt is seeking approval of Senate Foreign Relations Committee more..

Voice clip uncovers evidence of conspiracy

Feb 24 (DN) The CID told the Homagama Magistrate's Court that the first voice clip with regard to the abduction of journalist Pradeep Ekneligoda has uncovered evidence that the suspects attached to the Giritale Army camp had conspired to abduct and kill Ekneligoda. The court was informed that the first consipiracy to abduct and kill Ekneligoda has taken place on Aug 27, 2009 and the second suspect of the case has more..

Revamping a beleaguered foreign service

Feb 25 (CT) The state of Sri Lanka's Foreign Service, right now and before, has been most appalling. Successive governments in recent times have appointed political henchmen as Ambassadors and High Commissioners to key stations in lieu of favours granted and strictly not on merit, as the case should be. Most non-career diplomats appointed recently to important duty stations lack requisite knowledge of global issues, diplomatic practice and rudiments of international law and more..

Hartal in Vavuniya over rape and murder of teen

Feb 24 (CG) A hartal was staged in Vavuniya today in protest over the rape and murder of a teenager last week. An autopsy conducted on the teen found dead in a house in Vavuniya revealed that she was raped and murdered. The 14 year old girl was found hanging from the neck with the help of a saree inside the house last week. Investigations into the death had been launched and a post-mortem examination was conducted on the body of the victim. Post-mortem examination found that more..

Basil Fernando

Rosy’s FR case fixed for May 17

Feb 24 (Island) Supreme Court fixed for support on May 17, 2016, the fundamental rights violation petition filed by UNP candidate for Colombo District, Rosy Senanayake against the Commissioner of Elections. Petitioner has complained that the UNP preferential votes at the last Parliamentary polls were fraudulently handled in the computer room. Had those votes been correctly counted, she would have got elected. She has requested the court to order the Commissioner of Elections to more..

Four prisoners escape at Kegalle court

Feb 24 (AD) Five prison inmates managed escape while at the Kegalle Magistrate’s Court today after assaulting prison guards, however one of the prisoners has been apprehended by authorities once again. The incident had occurred at around 3.45pm when the five inmates, who are suspects in several crimes including burglaries, were brought to be before the court. However, they had escaped from the holding cell at the Kegalle Magistrate’s Court after assaulting a prison guard, more..

Video: President SLFP secession move

Feb 24 (DM) In a bid apparently to counter the demands within the SLFP to form a new political party or act as an independent group in Parliament by certain members of the party, SLFP Central Committee had decided to ban members from participating in events or discussions that would lead to form a separate group in Parliament. SLFP Spokesman Dilan Perera said that SLFP Central Committee that met recently more..

Some imperatives in constitution making

Feb 25 (CT) The govt’s effort to make a new Constitution appears to be dragging its feet. With the resolution on framing a new Constitution getting postponed and re-fixed and a palpable indecision on the way to go, an impression is being created in the public mind that the project is still groping in the dark. The first imperative in framing a Constitution is to ascertain the views of the general public on the provisions to be included in the proposed legislation. A committee has been set up more..

Three judge bench inspect site of Bharatha Lakshman’s murder

Feb 24 (CG) A three judge bench hearing the case over the murder of former Presidential advisor Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra, today visited the site where he was killed. The three judges and officials from the AG’s department as well as lawyers and family members of the late Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra visited the site at the Walpola junction in Angoda. Judges also inspected a site in Kolonnawa where weapons used for the crime were believed to have been hidden. more..

JVP accuses previous, present govts of hoodwinking youth

Feb 24 (Island) JVP said that previous family-run administration as well as present hybrid govt had take the country’s youth for a right royal ride. Party national organiser Bimal Ratnayake said that according to govt statistics, 3 million youth were unemployed. The education was the only asset 95% of the poor youth possessed. 2.5 million students had been denied university admission during last 20 years even though they were more..

Pilots Guild wants SriLankan Airlines to continue its fraud

Feb 24 (CT) The Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka wants SriLankan Airlines to continue its unlawful EPF/ETF and tax scam. Over the years SriLankan Airlines has been paying flying meal allowances in the billions of rupees annually to both its pilots and cabin crew at overseas hotels for long trips and locally for short trips which is not highlighted in their salary slips. Neither the pilots or cabin crew have paid taxes for these monies received, despite the Flight Attendants Union (FAU) more..

Constitution making: Amended sections of govt. resolution

Feb 24 (Island) Following are the sections of the Resolution (presented by PM Wickremesinghe on Jan. 09, 2015) with ammendments in bold type. 1. There shall be a Committee of Parliament hereinafter referred to as the Constitutional Assembly which shall consist of all Members of Parliament, for the purpose of deliberating, and seeking the views and advice of the People, on a new Constitution for Sri Lanka, and preparing a draft of a Constitution Bill for the consideration of more..

Jumbo row over elephant gift to NZ PM

Feb 24 (AFP) Sri Lanka gave visiting New Zealand PM John Key a baby elephant on Wednesday, sparking anger from animal rights activists who said it was cruel to separate her from her family. President Maithripala Sirisena presented a deed of ownership for five-year-old Nandi during a red-carpet welcome in Colombo for Key, who arrived for a two-day official visit. Nandi, born at Sri Lanka's oldest elephant sanctuary, is the second more..

SC rules certain clauses unconstitutional

Feb 24 (Island) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya informed Parliament that the Supreme Court had decided that some clauses in the Buddhist Temporalities (Amendment) Bill were not consistent with the Constitution. Speaker Jayasuriya said: "I wish to announce to the House that I have received the Determination of the Supreme Court in respect of the Bill titled Buddhist Temporalities (Amendment) which challenged in the Supreme Court in terms of Article 121 (1) of the Constitution. more..

Threatening call to speaker an inside job?

Feb 24 (Island) DLF Leader Vasudeva Nanayakkara said that govt had stopped investigations into the death threats to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya as phone details had led the investigators to a powerful minister’s henchman. He said making death threats to Speaker of Parliament was a national issue which had to be probed thoroughly. The investigators working on details of the phone had found that it had originated from a phone belonging to the close associate of the minister. more..

Ambulance service: 'Why not hire a local'

Feb 24 (AD) MP Bandula Gunawardena today urged the govt to clarify reasons not to hire a local agent for the proposed India-aided Emergency Ambulance Service which is to be introduced in two provinces here shortly. The observation was made at a press conference held in Colombo. MP Gunawardena said the govt is about to seek assistant in this regard through a NGO. “Why they cannot hire a local agent?” he said. more..

ADB to help Sri Lanka expand Colombo port operations

Feb 24 (ADB) The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) today signed a transaction advisory services agreement to develop the East Container Terminal (ECT) of Colombo Port through public–private partnership (PPP). The signing was witnessed by Takehiko Nakao, President of ADB, and SL’s Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake. “The terminal will maintain Colombo Port’s strategic position as a key trans-shipment hub for global and regional trade,” more..

‘Govt successfully renegotiated Sampur project with New Delhi’

Feb 24 (Island) Govt claimed that it had been able to revise an agreement with India finalised during the previous administration to build a coal-fired power plant at Sampur in Trincomalee district. Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera said that proposed agreement on consultancy services would enable Sri Lanka to acquire the expertise of the best. He said that in addition to India, other countries would be able to engage in the tender process to secure the consultancy. more..

Sri Lanka vows safe haven for tourists

Feb 24 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan govt on Wednesday said it will take immediate measures to provide a safe environment for tourists to the island nation. Tourism Minister John Amaratunga said the govt was concerned at the increasing number of complaints of exploitation and harassment of foreign tourists and warned to take stern action against those involved. Amaratunga called on the police department to revamp more..

EROS to work with TNA

Feb 24 (CT) Eelam Revolutionary Organization of Students (EROS), a former Tamil militant organization has decided to work closely with the TNA in the future Tamil political activities. EROS said in a proclamation released last Sunday at an event held at Batticaloa Focus Hall presided by EROS Chairman Arular Arulpragasam. Activists of EROS in the North and East and upcountry met at Batticaloa last Sunday held discussion with a view to reorganize the party. more..

UAE eager to exploit Sri Lanka fault lines

Feb 24 (WI) When UAE play Scotland or Ireland, you’d expect things not to go their way. But, prior to arriving in Dhaka for the Asia Cup 2016, UAE got the better of Scotland in a one-off Twenty20 International in Dubai and then, in Abu Dhabi, they lost one and won one against Ireland, also in T20Is. That momentum must have helped as UAE took on Afghanistan in the first qualifier of the Asia Cup and won by 16 runs. Getting past Hong Kong and Oman after that wasn’t too tough, and more..

Bribery Commission nets 2 Customs officials

Feb 24 (NS) Sri Lanka Customs confirmed that two Customs Officials had been arrested by Officials of the CIABOC on Feb 24. This arrest was most probably in connection with the previous raid concerning a bribe. It is reported that Customs officers, Wasantha Wimalaweera and Upali Wickremesinghe are the ones who have been arrested today. Previous raid in October last year was in relation to a bribe worth Rs 125 million more..

New salaries commission to review public, private salary structures

Feb 24 (LBO) The cabinet has decided to appoint a new Salaries and Cadre Commission to broadly and formally review salary structures and cadre requirements with a view to creating a more effective and contented Public Service. The proposed commission which will comprise of learned and experienced officers is also to formulate a salaries and cadre policy having regard to the manpower needs of the private sector. President in his manifesto has given an undertaking to more..

Human rights report urges Sri Lanka to translate promises into action

Feb 24 (CG) A report on the state of human rights around the world has urged Sri Lanka to translate its promises of accountability into action. Amnesty International noted that UNHRC resolution in September on an investigation into atrocities committed during the conflict offers a ray of hope to victims and family members, but precious little has happened since. “There have been some marked improvements on human rights in Sri Lanka during the year, notably on freedom of expression. more..

Emil Kanthan not at court today

Feb 24 (DM) Former top ranked LTTE Leader Emil Kanthan’s Counsel informed the Colombo Special High Court that his client could not appear before court today as the Colombo Fort Magistrate's Court had issued an arrest warrant on him. Suspect’s red notice and warrants were recalled by Special High Court after lawyers who appeared for him assured their client would produce himself before the court within 2 weeks. more..

Grama Niladharis now JPs

Feb 24 (CT) Justice and Buddhasasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe has taken measures to vest powers of a Justice of Peace (JP) in 15,000 Grama Niladhari officers who are in permanent govt service, Ministry of Justice said. Ministry of Justice Media Secretary Harsha B. Abeykoon said this step was taken under instructions from President Maithripala Sirisena and will be implemented with immediate effect under provisions of the special gazette notification No.1954/34 dated 18 Feb. more..

National organisations take govt to task over treatment of war heroes

Feb 24 (Island) Former Navy Chief of Staff, Rear Admiral (Rtd) Sarath Weerasekera accused the govt of making every effort to make its dream of splitting the country a reality by going for a federal state. The war hero and the man who transformed the Civil Defence Force into a worthy auxillary force alleged that PM Ranil Wickremesinghe was dancing to the tune of his western masters and the Tamil diaspora. The govt was determined to amend the Constitution to pave the way for a federal state, more..

Sri Lanka is the shining light of Asian region: New Zealand PM

Feb 24 (PSL) PM of New Zealand John Phillip Key described Sri Lanka as the Shining Light of Asian Region. He said there are enormous opportunities available in Sri Lanka for NZ entrepreneurs and investors. Delivering a media statement after conclusion of bilateral discussions with President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat today, he said that he first visited Sri Lanka in 2013 for the CHOGM more..