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Teenager gang-raped by family

Jan 30 (CT) Maligawatta Police last Thursday busted a case of multiple-incest when they arrested the father, grandfather and brother-in-law of a 15-year-old girl, whom they had been sexually abusing over a period of time. Police sources said that the three suspects were arrested following a complaint made by the child's grandmother stating that the grandfather and her brother-in-law always sexually abused the child whenever she visited her sister who lived in Maligawatte. more..

SL to open Consulate General Office in Milan

Jan 30 (CG) Govt has made arrangements to open a Consulate General Office in Milan, Italy with effect from 1st Feb 2016, to serve the Country’s large expatriate community there, Foreign Ministry said today. Sri Lankan community in Milan, is one of the largest in Northern Italy. Milan is Italy’s second leading city with a metropolitan population of 1.3 million and one of the major financial centres in Europe. Milan, is also home to among the largest Consular Corps in the World, more..

SC court concludes arguments over Theravada Bhikku Kathikawath Act

Jan 30 (DN) Supreme Court concluded arguments put forward in support and against the Bill titled Theravada Bhikku Kathikawath (Registration) Act. All parties in the petitions were directed to file their written submissions on February 1. The Supreme Court's determination over the proposed Bill is to be communicated to the Speaker. Deputy Solicitor General Sobhitha Rajakaruna appearing on behalf of the AG more..

Landslide mitigation work on Southern Expressway to cost Rs. 300 mn

Jan 30 (Island) RDA said that the landslide mitigation work on the Kokmaduwa-Imaduwa stretch of the Southern Expressway (E01) would cost about Rs. 300 million. RDA Southern Transport Development Project (STDP) Director E.H.Y.S.M. Garusinghe said that the mitigation work would start in Feb and completed before June. National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) identified a landslide prone area near the 114 km post on a seven kilometre stretch between more..

Sri Lanka not to double tinned fish tax to further protect four businesses

Jan 30 (EN) Sri Lanka's 50 rupees a kilo tax imported tinned fish slapped by the state to protect four domestic big businesses from the poor, will not be increased again and is expected to remain at current levels. Fish canning factories have been gouging customers selling tinned fish at higher-than-world-market prices in collusion with the political establishment who have slapped an import tax, for several years. An import tax protects a domestic business by making foods unaffordable more..

Sri Lanka drawing up laws for off-shore banking centre with Dubai backing

Jan 30 (EN) Sri Lanka is drawing up a legal framework to give comfort to users of a planned Colombo International Financial Centre, with technical support also coming from Dubai, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. The Colombo International Financial Centre will include off-shore banking units of banks already operating in Sri Lanka as well as other related services. He said local and foreign lawyers were helping develop laws for CIFC. more..

President participates in ceremony to offer Sannas Pathraya to new Anu Nayaka Thero

Jan 30 (PSL) The religious ceremony to present the Sannas Pathraya to the Most Venerable Professor Kotapitiye Rahula Thero who was conferred the post of the Anu Nayaka of the Kotte Sri Kalyani Samagri Maha Sanga Sabha of the Siam Nikaya was held today (29) at the Kotte Rajamaha Viharaya with the participation of President Maithripala Sirisena. The Sannas Pathraya was offered to Rahula Thero by Mahanayake of Kotte Kalyani Damma Maha Sanga Sabha Dr. Iththepane Dammalankara more..

Time ripe to change university education methods: Grero

Jan 30 (DN) Undergraduate courses, curricula and educational methodologies at universities need to be changed to meet global trends in the higher education sector, Minister Mohan Lal Grero said. "It is a timely need to change our courses, curricula and update them according to the needs of the global market since our aim is to create quality graduates," he added. Grero made these comments at the opening of a workshop on Promoting University-Industry collaborations in SL more..

SL to sign landmine banning convention

Jan 30 (Island) Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs D. M. Swaminathan would submit a joint Cabinet Paper with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs next week on signing the Ottawa Convention on banning land mines, a workshop was told early this week. The workshop on resource mobilization for mine action programme in Sri Lanka organised by National Mine Action Centre, more..

Kidney racketeer is in Maligawatte: NMSJ

Jan 30 (NS) The National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) informed that a section of doctors and elsewhere, a certain racketeer in Maligawatte, were involved in the kidney transplant racket. Member of the Main/Chief Committee of the NMSJ and Co-Convener of the Puravesi Balaya, Saman Ratnapriya said that noted doctors and hospital directors were also involved in this. The Colombo Crimes Division and DIG of the Western Province, Pujith Jayasundara should use the report of more..

Homagama incidents: Call for tough action against perpetrators

Jan 30 (Island) An organisation that represents the interests of the military yesterday alleged that recent incidents caused by Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) at the Homagama Magistrate’s Court, where a case pertaining to the disappearance of media personality Prageeth Ekneligoda was being heard, undermined the judiciary. Convenor of War Heroes’ for Motherland retired Maj. Ajith Prasanna yesterday said that the Attorney General’s Department, Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), more..

Civil society forewarns massive political action

Jan 30 (NS) National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) and the Puravesi Balaya observed that the civil society would in two weeks take actions to politically influence the Govt if it failed to practice good governance by making the necessary and suitable appointments and removals. While demanding that a person with suitability, ability and seniority be appointed to the post of the Attorney General, Member of Main/Chief Committee more..

The Colour of Fear

Jan 31 (SO) Fear can be represented by shapes or odours or colours or any other form depending on direct human experience arising out of concrete situations and contingencies. In some West Asian societies, the black flags of the Da-esh or Islamic State (so-called), incite sheer terror. Indeed, when a small Leftist party recently raised black flags in their protest campaign in central Colombo, some wags joked that the Da-esh had come to town. Some colours go on to incite anger and aggression more..

War heroes & Bhikkus are not above the Law

Jan 31 (SL) A Buddhist monk, who was observing proceedings of a case last week at the Homagama Magistrate’s court, in a spontaneous outburst not only challenged the decisions made by the magistrate but also shouted out condemning the law of the land and said it will not be tolerated. Reports quoted Ven. Galagodaththe Gnanasara Thero saying: “Cruel officials of the present government are remanding war heroes who saved the country by crushing the Tigers….. more..

'Govt has an obligation to protect Buddhism'

Jan 31 (SL) Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka said that govt will ensure that the process of drafting a new constitution will be done in a transparent manner and will not deprive any community or religion in any way. There are elements who are trying to disrepute the govt’s genuine intentions by creating negative comments. However the public have the opportunity of getting involved within its establishment through more..

A new political party takes shape

Jan 31 (Island) Sri Lanka is indeed a country like no other as the tourist brochures say. We have a president, a prime minister, a cabinet and a parliament where the PM commands a two thirds majority, but no functioning govt. There is no sense of direction and no decisions are being made. An ambitious programme to promulgate a new constitution was inaugurated as the first major task for this year but it seems to have ground to a halt even before it began. more..

Audit Bill: Achilles Heel of UNF govt?

Jan 31 (CT) One of the main election promises of President Maithripala Sirisena was to prepare and pass a National Audit Bill. This was seen by many concerned Sri Lankans as an important aspect of transparency and good governance. Although the National Audit Bill was to be drafted and presented to Parliament within the first 100 days of the government, this has been delayed due to various reasons. Although there have been numerous mentions about a Draft Bill and promises by more..

'Govt should not have any role in religion'

Jan 31 (SL) Neither President nor PM is capable of a producing a Constitution that is favourable to the people of the country charged the JVP Politburo member and head of National Trade Union Center (NTUC), K.D. Lalkantha. He said the reason is that in order to hold onto power they want the support of the majority. The discussion or debate on wanting a new constitution is good and it can be an insight into our future, but it's definitely more..

In dependence of our Independence

Jan 31 (ST) Sri Lanka celebrates her 68th anniversary of Independence next Thursday and it seems someone has a twisted sense of humour or timing to have the UN Human Rights chief arrive the next day to discuss purported war crimes of the same Armed Forces that displayed their hardware with a spit and polish drill display along Colombo’s Galle Face promenade just the day before. Visiting chief, a pro-West Jordanian Prince, will be here to discuss UNHRC resolution to investigate more..

What next irreverent one?

Jan 31 (ST) My dear Senaawa, I thought I must write to you because you are in the news these days and your leader is in remand prison, all because of a scuffle that broke out at a court house. As a result, a lot of people are confused about who you are and what you do and some even think that you are a group of politicians! Let me explain why. What we saw last week was a group of people, some of them in yellow robes, trying to force their way in to a court house, shouting insults & making demands. more..

Joint Opposition to form new political alliance? What the Rajapaksas say

Jan 31 (CT) Speculations are rife that the self-proclaimed Joint Opposition is planning on forming a new political alliance with the backing of several Rajapaksas, to contest the upcoming local govt election. Majority of the members want former President Rajapaksa to lead the new alliance. Here's what the Rajapaksas had to say about the proposition. I am ready: Gotabaya; Q: Vast number of politicians at local and provincial level more..

Debate on emotive issues needed before a new constitution

Jan 31 (NS) The constitutional debate is on. The political circles, the media and the intelligentsia have been debating the issue since the advent of the new govt a year ago. A new constitution needs not only the two-third majority of the parliament but also the approval of the people at a referendum which together means a high degree of consensus in the country. However, the current position is that that there is no general consensus even on the need for a new constitution. more..

Who is behind the new BBS offensive?

Jan 31 (SO) Ven. Galagodaaththé Gnanasara Thera, a relatively unknown bhikkhu in the latter stages of the Rajapaksa administration, has now become the face of Sinhala-Buddhist ultra-nationalist terror in the country’s political sphere. Ven. Gnanasara Thera rose to fame in mid-2012 when he formed Bodu Bala Sena organization, a movement whose mis-behaviour was partly responsible for former President Rajapaksa’s defeat at last Parliamentary election. more..

Who is the Brutus in Maithri’s Camp?

Jan 31 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisena seems to want to put an end to the indignities he suffered over the past one year, when he insisted that he knows how to lead his SLFP to victory in the coming Local Govt elections, if others let him do his job without trying to backstab him. In back to back meetings President had with SLFP members and govt ministers he not only once but seemed to have put his foot down on several occasions more..

Game set for MR to bat on RW’s pitch

Jan 31 (SL) The current political scenario in the country, albeit being chaotic to say the least, is in fact a well laid pitch for the UNP led by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to score a victory at the next election. What with former President, UPFA MP Mahinda Rajapaksa continuing to obstruct President Maithripala’s attempts to consolidate himself with the SLFP, it is the UNP that is now gathering momentum. The golden opportunity at hand has not gone unnoticed by Wickremesinghe, more..

Sri Lanka to host two Asian Cue C'ships

Jan 31 (ST) The Sri Lanka Billiards and Snooker Association (SLBSA) have been bestowed with the honour of hosting the 15th Asian Billiards and 17th Asian U21 Snooker Championships by the Asian Confederation of Billiard Sports. The two tournaments which will be conducted concurrently are scheduled to be held from March 1 to 8 at Hotel Ramada in Colombo. Accommodation for the players, officials and foreign dignitaries will also be at the same hotel. more..

Top level Aravinda–Ford alliance in the offing

Jan 31 (ST) Would former SL batting ace Aravinda de Silva wear another feather in his cap by becoming the Director of coaching of Sri Lanka – a position that was styled by Ravi Shastri of India? Shastri has been operating in this position from September last year with head coach Duncan Fletcher, keeping tab on the day-to-day affairs of the Indian national team. “President of SLC Sumathipala has been in conversation more..

Ford way – the forward way

Jan 31 (Island) Year 2016 started with the national cricket team suffering new lows at the hands of a resurgent New Zealand side. The authorities needed to take several corrective measures to put things back on track and the foremost of them was to hire a proven coach. Graham Ford’s arrival will help SL sort out many shortcomings. Ford is a coach in the mould of Australia’s John Buchanan and NZ’s Mike Hessen. All three were average players, but were outstanding teachers of great game of ours. more..

Coulby Newham veterinary nurses go to the dogs in Sri Lanka

Jan 31 (NE) VETERINARY nurses from Coulby Newham have returned from the other side of the world humbled by their experiences helping needy dogs more than 10,000 miles away in Sri Lanka. Ashley Whitehead and Amy Hood, who both work for White Cross Vets, went to Sri Lanka with the World Veterinary Service to help the Dogstar Foundation humanely deal with that country's massive over-population of dogs. Pair raised £1,650 for the trip through generous sponsorship more..

Budget amendments stretch the state expenditure and revenue

Jan 31 (ST) The govt’s expenditure and revenue are set to be stretched in two opposite directions by 16 amendments made to budget 2016 forcing Treasury to introduce adjustments towards bridging the new deficit, officials said. Under this set up the govt is forced to cut down the capital expenditure in 2016 budget this year to cushion the impact of amendments made to several expenditure and revenue proposals, they revealed. more..

Snags hit relay preparations

Jan 31 (CT) Failure of the men's and women's 4X100m relay teams to complete the relays at the fitness trials yesterday is a cause for grave concern, as the two relays were potential gold medal hopes for SL at the forthcoming South Asian Games (SAG). The two teams still have a lot more to do to get themselves fine tuned, with just a few more days to go for the competition. Athletics Association conducted fitness trials for SAG' pool athletes in order to evaluate their current standard. more..

'Love at first taste as I'm transported to SL'

Jan 31 (Independent) I fell in love in Sri Lanka. It's been 24 years now, but my love endures. If anyone asks me where they should go on holiday, I invariably say Sri Lanka. Not because they'll end up marrying the person they go with (as I did), but because they will form an ardent, lifelong love for the food (as I did). I only have to flick through my photo album… That early morning train journey rattling through tea plantations, punctuated by hot, sweet chai and egg hoppers. more..

SL has much to teach India about civic sense

Jan 31 (HT) Visiting Sri Lanka earlier this month I was once again struck by the difference between civic sense there and in India. This is partially responsible for SL being 73rd on the UN Human Development Index while India is much lower at 130. Civic sense has been defined as “the norms of society that help it run smoothly without tripping on each other’s toes”. You could say without treading on others’ toes. more..

CA Sri Lanka to instill forensic thinking

Jan 31 (NS) The newly-inducted President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka), Lasantha Wickremasinghe last week said that as the present international and local environment is crying for the need of forensic thinking, the Institute has plans to introduce a programme in forensic auditing for its members to ensure public expectations are met. Wickremasinghe, a prominent Chartered Accountant, was ceremoniously inducted by more..

Harvard accepts sixth Elizabeth Moir School Student in nine Years

Jan 31 (Island) As one of the worlds’ most prestigious universities, Harvard attracts applications from the best students, and generally accepts only one Sri Lankan student per year. This year that honour has been offered to a student at Elizabeth Moir School - Urshella Hisham. Urshella is the seventh student from Moir, and the sixth in the last nine years to be offered a place at Harvard, a news release from the school said. Urshella was awarded a full academic scholarship from more..

'CID to play crucial role in investigating war crimes allegations'

Jan 31 (Island) Govt says that its critics were totally preoccupied with the composition of the Independent Domestic War Crimes Court to be established in terms of a UNHRC resolution, that they were unable to see the crucial role that CID would have to play. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that a small group of Opposition MPs headed by former President Rajapaksa were howling in protest having forgotten that it was their more..

'Megapolis development plan patriotic'

Jan 31 (AM) Arguing that Sri Lanka needs a new breed of patriotism, Minister Champika Ranawaka said that the Megapolis Development Plan is such a patriotic project. He made this observation today at the launch of the project under the aegis of President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Independence Square. The Megapolis programme is a 15 year project which aims to transform the entire western province into a well planned enclave. more..

PRECIFAC hunts Damayanthi again

Jan 31 (CT) PRECIFAC has begun investigations into any possible involvement of the former Secretary to the Ministry of Defence pertaining to a Rs 2 billion loss incurred by the govt in the disposal of expired, imported explosives. Former Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, Damayanthi Jayaratna, had reportedly authorized the sale of the expired imported explosives totally outside stipulated procedures for such sale or disposal. The person vested with the authority to more..

No visa; Cardinal cancels visit to Britain

Jan 31 (ST) Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith’s visa application to travel to Britain has been turned down due to incomplete information, prompting the cancellation of an event due to take place in a London church. Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo, was to conduct mass at St. George’s Cathedral at Southwark in London, and address a meeting on Feb 4, day of SL’s Independence from British colonial rule. more..

Zeid to visit former war zones in North

Jan 31 (SL) The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein will visit the North during his visit to Sri Lanka which begins on Saturday, February 6, UN sources said. Zeid is expected to visit former war battered areas in the North and meet families who were directly affected by the conflict. UN sources said that the High Commissioner will be in Sri Lanka till Tuesday, February 9 and will hold a press conference at the end of his visit. more..