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'Aircraft purchases add to financial burden'

Jan 22 (LBO) Aircraft purchases by Sri Lanka’s previous govt, which do not make business sense, have added to the financial burden of state sector, deputy minister Eran Wickramaratne said. Eight aircraft have been contracted for purchase over the next few years, with two likely to be delivered this year, he said. In total, six A330-300s and four A350-900 aircraft have been contracted for delivery between 2014-2021. more..

Lavish spending to develop Kandy: Kiriella

Jan 22 (Island) The govt would spend lavishly for development of Kandy, assured Minister Lakshman Kiriella inaugurating the construction work of Dodamwala bridge over Mahaweli Ganga connecting Kandy and Harispattuwa on Wednesday. The motorable bridge, being built at a cost of Rs. 374 million, will replace the nearly 80-years-old suspension bridge. Minister Kiriella said that the new bridge project would receive financial assistance from Britain. more..

WB, IMF assistance: $1.5B in the cards

Jan 22 (CT) World Bank's (WB's) US$ 500 million budgetary support will be disbursed in one go, and the IMF's $ one billion assistance, to alleviate Sri Lanka's balance of payments crisis will be paid in tranches, with the first tranche due in April 2016, official sources who didn't want to be named told this reporter. They further said that an IMF team in this connection is due next month, after which Board approval has to be got from Washington before disbursements start rolling out. more..

CHEC Port City refutes allegations by State minister

Jan 22 (LBO) CHEC Port City Colombo in a letter to state minister Sujeewa Senasinghe, has refuted a public statement by him of corruption in Colombo Port City deal. “The said statement attributed to you, which induces the reader to arrive at the irresistible conclusion that the project has been secured by project company by offering bribes and/or commissions and/or other such financial inducements also creates more..

Disciplinary action against Kotadeniyawa OIC and five others

Jan 22 (DM) Police said disciplinary action would be taken against the Kotadeniyawa OIC, an Inspector and four other officers for detaining two suspects, in connection with the investigation conducted into the Seya Sandewmi murder, in an illegal manner. Legal action would also be taken against two Sub Inspectors, a Sergeant and a Constable of the Kotadeniya Police. 17-year-old Suranjan Senevirathna and 33-year-old Kelum Athanayaka who were arrested on Sept 11 on suspicions more..

SLC suspends work on indoor net projects

Jan 22 (GDI) The Indoor Nets Projects at R. Premadasa Stadium, Pallekele and Dambulla has been temporary suspended due to SLC not obtaining approvals from the relevant authorities, Sri Lanka Cricket announced. The newly elected Executive Committee headed by Thilanga Sumathipala has decided to re-assess the projects based on the high cost involved in construction (Rs.248 million) and the space allocation at the respective venues. more..

Red Cross jeep involved in crimes?

Jan 22 (CT) Colombo Chief Magistrate ordered the CID to probe the alleged misuse of a Defender vehicle belonging to the Red Cross Society, for the commission of a crime, being painted over in a different colour to avoid recognition. Court has learned that this has been allegedly authorized by a former Minister of Social Services. Vehicle had belonged to Siriliya Saviya of former First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa. more..

Returning political asylum seekers being victimized: Lawyer

Jan 22 (CT) Sri Lankan citizens who sought political asylum abroad are being victimized on their return to the country in response to an invitation given by President Sirisena, Attorney-at-Law Senaka Perera said. He said, Tamil activist Puniyamoorthy Sasikaran, a resident of Batticaloa, had been arrested on 20 Jan, by CID upon arrival at BIA. Sasikaran fled the country by boat for Australia four years ago due to death threats and being followed by white vans during Rajapaksa Govt. more..

Sri Lanka to obtain membership of Asian Infrastructure Bank with US$ 268mn

Jan 22 (LBO) Cabinet has approved the draft bill to enable Sri Lanka to obtain the formal membership of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank through ratification of the required agreement. Sri Lanka has signed the agreement as an initial member to establish this bank on 29 June 2015 in Beijing, China. 57 countries comprised of 37 countries in the region and 20 countries out of the region have pledged support for the bank. Bank will have an authorized capital of US$ 100 billion which more..

President wants internal war crimes court

Jan 22 (BBC) President has said foreign judges and prosecutors should not be involved in an investigation into allegations of war crimes. In a BBC interview, President Sirisena said the country did not need to import specialists. Both the army and Tamil Tiger rebels are accused of atrocities in the civil war that ended in 2009. Govt previously backed a UN resolution calling for a war crimes court supported by foreign judges. more..

Brits to assist Jaffna Police

Jan 22 (CT) British Govt has offered assistance to the Jaffna Police to curb crimes against women and children in the Northern Province. British Govt has promised that they will help Jaffna Police to investigate matters relating to crimes against women and children. British Minister of State Hugo Swire who visited Jaffna last week assured IGP N.K.Ilangakoon and Jaffna Police OIC Udaya Kumara Woodler that assistance shall be provided to carry out the investigations. more..

TNA to stick to federal solution

Jan 22 (CT) TNA will not deviate from their stance on finding a solution based on the federal system, TNA Leader and Leader of the Opposition, R. Sampanthan, said. He was addressing a special meeting of the TNA held in Kilinochchi yesterday. TNA MPs, Provincial Councillors and members of local bodies in the North and East participated. Sampanthan further in his address said, from the time of Federal Party Leader late S.J.V. Chelvanayagam, federalism has been more..

Avant Garde case: Key witness flees country

Jan 22 (CT) Damayanthi Jayaratne, a former Additional Secretary to Ministry of Defence who was being questioned by PRECIFAC regarding fraud and corruption allegations in Avant Garde arms deal and Rakna Lanka firm has fled the country. Jayaratne was summoned several times by the PRECIFAC before her statements concerning the alleged fraud at the said institutions had been recorded. She was serving as the Additional more..

Rescue health service from racketeers

Jan 22 (DM) One of the worst alleged scandals in Sri Lanka’s medical history was exposed this week after the Indian media reported that the Indian Police are to charge six Sri Lankan doctors for involvement in a multi-million rupee organ transplant racket. The Indian media named the six doctors and the four Colombo private hospitals in which the 60 kidney transplants were done in violation of medical ethics. Yesterday Health Ministry directed all SL hospitals to suspend kidney surgeries for foreigners. more..

Forthcoming LG elections give birth to a party- splitting season

Jan 22 (DM) With the on-going preparations of political parties for the forthcoming local govt election the disunity among various groups in the SLFP seems to be intensifying. The imminence of the party splitting is being furthered by two factors- the Mahinda Rajapaksa factor and the small parties within the UPFA as well as those who contested under the UPFA during the Rajapaksa regime. The fear among hardcore Rajapkasa loyalists within the SLFP they would be sidelined when more..

Veggie prices down, but consumers slow to respond

Jan 22 (ST) Trade stalls in urban areas are full of fresh vegetables, a few weeks after their prices skyrocketed as a result of bad weather and resultant shortfall. “Rupees 160 per kilo, Rs. 160 per kilo,” retail vegetable vendors shout in unison. This week prices of popular vegetables went down with green beans sold at an average price of Rs. 160 per kilo, carrots at Rs. 170 per kilo, leeks at Rs. 83 per kilo, capsicum at Rs. 309 per kilo, more..

Presidential Secretariat’s move hampers PRECIFAC investigations

Jan 22 (SL) Certain investigations carried out by the PRECIFAC have reportedly come to a standstill as the Presidential Secretariat has failed to give the Commission, the powers to call financial institutions in the country to provide financial information to support the investigation. Reliable PRECIFAC sources said this had become a drawback to the investigation process and added that the Commission is to meet more..

Video: Election win unsure if President backs UNP: Dilum

Jan 22 (AD) As long as the President maintains a friendly relationship with UNP, SLFP will not be able to win the forthcoming LG election, MP Dilum Amunugama says. He pointed out that time has come for President Maithripala Sirisena to raise his voice against the UNP. Amunugama also warned the SLFPers to get ready to face the defeat at the polls, if they refrain from getting the support of the former President to more..

Sri Lanka on track to get GSP+, more compliance needed: EU officials

Jan 22 (EN) Sri Lanka is on track to get GSP+ benefits perhaps in a matter of months, but progress on compliance has to be shown with international covenants to improve rights of citizens and rule of law, European Union officials said. Full compliance can be reached after GSP+ is given again, but steady progress has to be made, they said. EU Ambassador David Daly said discussions between a visiting EU team and SL officials more..

Peacock Mansion swimming pool yet to be cleared of sea sand

Jan 22 (DN) Labour Party leader and businessman A.S.P. Liyanage said the Police have not taken any action yet regarding his request to make arrangements to clear the swimming pool at the Peacock mansion in Rajagiriya filled with sea sand. He said that he is in a dilemma over the lethargic attitude of the police despite the request made by him to the IGP. Liyanage said that he made a request to IGP nearly two weeks ago more..

Former North and East Chief Minister considers federalism best solution

Jan 22 (Island) Federalism is the best solution to SL’s ethnic problem, former North-East Chief Minister Vartharaja Perumal says. "Federalism will become a reality when the Tamils trust the Sinhalese and vice versa. It is not possible at present. If new Constitution provides for a devolution model that will pave the way for federalism in time to come that will be enough." Political changes of that nature could not happen overnight, more..

Alleged kidney racket: Doctors would be stripped of licences if found guilty

Jan 22 (Island) Six Sri Lankan doctors who have been charged in India for allegedly being involved in a kidney transplant racket would be stripped of their licences to practise if found guilty, the govt said. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that he had appointed a six-member committee to inquire into the alleged racket that had come to light in the wake of legal action taken against the suspect doctors by the Indian authorities. more..

A new party is not SLFP: Gotabhaya

Jan 22 (AM) Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa gave serious indications about the formation of a new political party, pointing out that a new party is not SLFP, its a new party. He made this observation this morning near the PRECIFAC, when journalists asked if he is intending to lead a new political front which is to be formed by the Joint Opposition. Rajapaksa arrived at the PRECIFAC for the hearings on alleged more..

Somawansa to join joint opposition?

Jan 22 (DM) Former JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe is to join hands with the joint opposition led by MP Dinesh Gunawardane to engage in future politics, it is learnt. Recently, Mr. Amarasinghe who formed the People’s Servants Party met with the representatives of Mr. Gunawardane’s MEP. At that meeting, Mr. Amarasinghe has agreed to team up with the joint opposition. He defected from JVP last year and formed a new party. more..

Govt should bear responsibility over kidney transplant issue: GMOA

Jan 22 (DM) The GMOA said that govt should bear the responsibility of any irregularity taken place in the complex process of kidney transplantation. GMOA Spokesman Dr. Navin de Soysa stated that organ transplantation including kidney transplantation was a complicated process that involved adherence to certain laws and ethics. Speaking at a news conference on media reports that six cases filed against more..

Why former Royal principal is not interdicted?

Jan 22 (CT) “Even an average public servant receives his or her normal transfer order in every five years. How come a principal of a school remains for consecutive 13 years in the same work place?” This is an obvious question that would come to one’s mind when analyzing the recent interesting story about three high profile principals of leading schools in the country who came into the lime light last week. This above specific question refers to the former Principal of the most prestigious more..

'Agreement with India will not endanger Sri Lankan IT sector'

Jan 22 (AM) Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva refuted allegations that the new agreement with India will not endanger the jobs of Sri Lankan IT professionals. He said that Indian IT professionals will not have a chance of opening up their businesses in Sri Lanka and threatening the local IT professionals. He pointed out that international service trade has four modes. Three of these modes of service trade, namely, cross border trade, consumption abroad and commercial person more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

74-year old professor in hot water

Jan 22 (DN) A professor who allegedly attempted to sexually abuse an underage boy was remanded till today by Kandy Chief Magistrate Buddhika Sri Rangala. Magistrate also ordered the Katugastota police to sumbit information gathered from evidence in connection with this incident. The suspect aged 74 and a resident of Ratmalana travelling to Katugastota by train had met the boy who got into the train at Peradeniya station. Police said child had got down at Tittawela railway station more..

Playing politics with FDIs

Jan 22 (CT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe emphatically stated at the World Economic Forum held in Switzerland recently that the Government of Sri Lanka is not only going ahead with the controversial Colombo Port City Project, but also will seek more Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) from China and tie up with China for development projects such as the Hambantota Port. Wickremesinghe also noted that China is the economic power in Asia and the country is ready to work with Sri Lanka. more..

Medicos launch continuous Sathyagraha over private medical college

Jan 22 (Island) Undergraduates of the Ragama and Karapitiya Medical Faculties launched a continuous Sathyagraha yesterday demanding the abolition of the Malabe Private Medical College (SAITM). Ragama Medical Faculty students started Sathyagraha opposite the Colombo North Teaching Hospital and Karapitiya undergraduates sat opposite their faculty in Galle. Convener of MFSAC Rayan Jayalath said they were planning to launch more..

Dances of Sri Lanka mesmerize spectators at Abhinav Theatre

Jan 22 (DE) International cultural show Dances of Sri Lanka organized by Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Ministry of External Affairs, and Government of India in collaboration with J&K Academy of Art Culture and Languages (JKAACL) mesmerized the spectators here at Abhinav Theatre. Presented by Arpeggio Creative Dance & Drama Academy which came all way from Colombo presented diverse cultural traditions of Sri Lanka. Mandated to bring world to India more..

Commonwealth Observers urge campaign finance reforms here

Jan 22 (Island) Commending Sri Lanka’s Elections Commissioner and his office for having maintained high standards of fairness and the police for enforcing the law and ensuring a peaceful election, the report of the Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) on Sri Lanka’s 2015 Parliamentary Election has said that the govt should reconsider restrictions on campaigning methods as well as legislation on campaign finance. Report states that there is no law in Sri Lanka on campaign spending, more..

Sirisena agrees to negotiate with Joint Opposition to avoid SLFP split

Jan 22 (AM) In an attempt to save the SLFP from splitting into two, President Maithripala Sirisena gave his consent to have discussions with the Joint Opposition leaders and resolve differences. In a meeting held at his residence late last evening, Sirisena and the SLFP Ministers, Deputy Ministers and State Ministers agreed that the differences should be resolved by discussions. This came after some acrimonious verbal attacks more..

HRCSL questions 5 cops

Jan 22 (CT) Human Rights Commission of SL recorded statements of five Police officers of the Embilipitiya Police station relating to the suspected killing of a youth at a party. The Commission earlier summoned 21 Police officers attached to Embilipitiya Police to record statements on the issue. HRCSL Media spokesman, said that ASP of Embilipitiya Police had informed the Commission that he was hospitalized and therefore could not turn up at the Commission. more..

Gold bars smuggled from SL seized in TN

Jan 22 (ENS) Gold bars weighing 8.325 kg valued at 2.21 crore, allegedly smuggled into the country from Sri Lanka, were seized by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials near Valavanthankottai toll gate on Thanjavur - Tiruchy Highway on Thursday. Based on a tip-off that gold bars were being smuggled from Sri Lanka to India by boat through the coastal villages of Nagappattinam district, Chennai Zonal Unit of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence more..

TNA refutes Wigneswaran’s charge of giving up right to self determination

Jan 22 (ENS) TNA has refuted Northern Province CM C.V. Wigneswaran’s contention that it has reneged in its commitment to secure for the Tamils of Sri Lanka the right to self determination. Wigneswaran had told TNA members in NPC earlier this week, that the TNA had pledged itself to securing for the Tamils self determination in its manifesto for the 2013 NPC elections, but it had not mentioned it in its manifesto for more..

Video: Body of beheaded motorcyclist found in Middeniya

Jan 22 (DM) The beheaded body of a 30-year-old motorcyclist was found at Kariyamadiththa in Middeniya this morning while the body of a 48-year-old man was found hanging some 500 meters away. They said their initial investigations had revealed that motorcyclist had been killed while on his way home after attending a wedding ceremony. Police suspect the other man to have committed suicide. They said they were investigating whether there was any connection between two incidents. more..

Alleged Wilpattu encroachment: CA gives Bathiudeen time to file objection

Jan 22 (Island) The Court of Appeal yesterday allowed time till March 30, 2016, to respondents, Minister Rishard Bathiudeen and the Attorney-General, to file objections to the Writ Application filed by The Centre for Environmental Justice. The petitioner has complained of settling displaced persons from the villages of Mavichchikuththy and two others, near the Wilpattu Forest Reserve, felling of trees, disturbing natural forest environment and the animal life in the area. more..

New evidence implicates ASP in Embilipitiya killing

Jan 22 (EN) New evidence emerged today of the direct involvement of a police ASP in the killing of a party goer at Embilipitiya in the worst case of police brutality under new govt. CCTV footage from a nearby building identified several witnesses who have now ben questioned by police and their testimony has helped investigators draw a much clearer picture of what happened on Jan 4. One witness told investigators this week more..