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Touchwood liquidator reveals attempts to dupe creditors again

Jan 31 (ST) A former top Touchwood Investments official was recently found to have established a new company and carrying out maintenance of the liquidated company’s properties and charging fees from its creditors to the dismay of liquidator Sudath Kumar. Touchwood Investments Liquidator Kumar said that a new company titled Sintec Plantation Management of which former Touchwood Investments CEO Channa Abeygunawardena is currently a Director has been carrying out more..

New body under PM to oversee Foreign Ministry

Jan 31 (ST) A Global Affairs Committee under PM Ranil Wickremesinghe will oversee the working of Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), giving directions on foreign policy and all related matters. It is headed by Charitha Ratwatte, a former Treasury Secretary and currently a senior Advisor to the PM. This is one of a number of measures PM has taken in a bid to revive Foreign Ministry which was found to be floundering. more..

President’s Secretary to be replaced

Jan 31 (SL) Current Secretary to the President, P.B. Abeykoon has been given a diplomatic post and the current Director General of the Mahaweli Authority, Anura Dissanayake is tipped to take up the post of Secretary to the President. Prior to being appointed as the Secretary to the President, Abeykoon served as the Secretary to the Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs, under Rajapaksa regime. Anura Dissanayake served as the Acting Secretary of the Ministry of Education more..

Arrested without proper charges: MR

Jan 31 (SO) Former President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, said the statement made by some ministers had clearly indicated how the Police were going to act in arresting Rajapaksa family members. All the arrests have been made under the Money Laundering Act, which was enacted to prevent fund raising activities of terrorist organisations. “I don’t see any relevance of the Money Laundering Act in these arrests. They have been arrested without any proper charges,” he charged. more..

Yoshitha Rajapaksa remanded over money laundering allegation

Jan 31 (Island) Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s second son was remanded in custody for two weeks after he was arrested and questioned yesterday under the Money Laundering Act, police and court officials said. Navy officer Yoshitha Rajapaksa, 27, was questioned at length at the navy headquarters in Colombo and then arrested and taken before Kaduwela magistrate who ordered his remand till Feb 11. more..

Directors of Entrust Securities removed from other Group Cos.

Jan 31 (ST) SEC is flexing its muscles to sack directors at Entrust Capital Markets (ECMPL), broking arm of Entrust Group whose beleaguered primary dealer, and Entrust Securities was taken over by Central Bank (CB) early this month. CB handed over its management to National Savings Bank after its liabilities fell below its assets putting depositors and investors at risk. “SEC’s corporate Affairs Division is currently going through ECMPL and will make a decision soon,” more..

Navy awaits directives from MOD on Yoshitha

Jan 31 (SL) The Navy says it is still waiting for directives from the Ministry of Defence on the action to be taken on Lieutenant Yoshitha Rajapaksa. Navy spokesman Akram Alavi said that the report based on the investigations conducted by the Navy on Yoshitha Rajapaksa was sent to Ministry of Defence several weeks ago and the Navy is now waiting for a directive on the next step. Yoshitha has been accused of abusing his position in the Navy when former President Rajapaksa was in power. more..

Domestic war crimes probe: Lack of clarity as Govt tries balancing act

Jan 31 (ST) With local council elections only six months away, according to his own agenda, President Maithripala Sirisena dropped a bombshell last week. He declared that foreign judges and prosecutors should not be involved in investigations into allegations of war crimes by troops and Tiger guerrillas. It was only a week earlier he declared that local polls would be held in July. There is still some doubt on the date. more..

An angry PM and the betrayal of a revolution

Jan 31 (Island) PM Wickremesinghe is an angry man these days. The winter in Davos has not cooled him down. He lashed out at GL Peiris before going to Davos. He lambasted the journalists, just last Thursday, after returning from Davos. Peiris came under fire in Jaffna where the PM had gone to celebrate Thai Pongal, just as Mahinda Rajapkaksa used to fly to NuwaraEliya to preside over the CWC’s cow-milking ceremony to mark Pongal. A milky way to reconciliation, you might say. more..


Jan 31 (Island) A recent interview with President Sirisena, conducted with BBC’s Azzam Ameen, is recommended viewing for those who want to assess contemporary politics and the trajectory of governance over 2016 and beyond. Over Twitter, I averred that while some of the President’s answers were positively disturbing, the opportunity given to grill him, and the fact that Ameen is still alive, unharmed and living without fear of a white van abduction, is testimony to how much SL more..

Recycled food for Sirisena and world leaders at UN’s gala dinner

Jan 31 (ST) When the UN hosted a high-level lunch for visiting world leaders, including President Maithripala Sirisena, during the General Assembly sessions last September, they were in for an unexpected surprise, according to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Speaking at an event on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, Ban said the lunch consisted largely of recycled food salvaged from more..

Zika: How scared should you be?

Jan 31 (CT) Last week, Minister Rajitha Senaratne stressed that SL authorities have taken action to screen all air passengers arriving from South America and Africa, at the BIA, in order to prevent the Zika virus, entering the country. While stressing on the precautionary measures taken to identify people who are infected with the Zika virus, the minister said that the public do not need to get panicked about the Zika virus. more..

Jumbo criminals yet to be brought to justice

Jan 31 (SL) Highly powerful people including VVIPs such as Buddhist monks, politicians, judges, former MPs and several members of the former first family who illegally kept elephants in their possession without proper documentation are yet to be indicted despite, the case files from the CID has been forwarded to the AG department for action. The failure of the AG’s department in issuing instructions had resulted in delay of arrests more..

Two TNA stalwarts attend Scottish confab on devolution

Jan 31 (Island) Opposition leader, R. Sampanthan and TNA MP, M. A. Sumanthiran were on a visit to the Scottish capital of Edinburgh to attend a workshop on devolution of power and constitutional reforms in Sri Lanka. Organized by the Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law (ECCL) and Political Settlements Research Program (PSRP) affiliated to Edinburgh University, was held from Jan 29-31 in collaboration with CPA, more..

AG blocks legal action against Army Chief in Eknaligoda case

Jan 31 (SL) The Attorney General’s office has instructed the CID to refrain from taking legal action against the Army Commander Lieutenant General A. W. J. C. De Silva on allegations of failing to assist in the investigations into the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda. The CID had recently sought the advice of the AG with regard to initiating legal action against the Army Commander. more..

Controversial Lycamoble seeks to buy Hutch Sri Lanka

Jan 31 (SL) UK-based mobile virtual network operator Lycamobile which is at risk of being struck off the register of UK businesses after failing to file accounts on time, now seeks SL's TRC approval to buy Hutchison Telecom Lanka, sources close to negotiations told Ceylon FT on Friday. It also learned that Lycamobile owner Sri Lankan businessman Subaskaran Allirajah who visited Sri Lanka last Dec, also had discussions with more..

President instructs to set up a museum to display cultural heritage of the South

Jan 31 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena says restoration and protection of ancient monuments is essential as it showcases Sri Lanka;s rich and unique culture, social advancement and economic progress even during ancient times. He said the while opening the 1500 years old Sandagiriseya, one of the oldest stupas of Sri Lanka for the worship of Sri Lanka and other Buddhist devotees in the entire world. more..

Mixed system to buy coal

Jan 31 (ST) The Lanka Coal Company will float a fourth spot tender for coal next month, a senior official said. Coal purchased through spot tenders will supplement a one-year term contract which has been awarded to a company called Swiss Singapore Overseas Enterprise (Pte) Ltd, Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy Ministry Secretary B.M.S Batagoda said. more..

Sri Lanka signs FTA with Vietnam

Jan 31 (AD) The Vietnamese hailed the visit of Dr. Harsha de Silva, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, especially noting that it is the first high level bilateral visit to Vietnam since President Maithripala Sirisena assumed office on Jan 8, the Ministry said in a statement today. The visit preceded an important period during which Vietnam signed the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement & Free Trade Agreement with EU, more..

'No screening at BIA for visitors from Latin American, African countries'

Jan 31 (SO) Health officials rejected claims of an active screening program for symptoms of the Zika virus currently spreading in Latin American and African countries for passengers arriving from these countries BIA. "Screening visitors from these countries is not recommended or necessary, as we don't consider that the disease poses a threat to us. Zika is only a mild viral fever and not a dangerous disease. more..

A note on Katikavatas or promulgations by Sri Lankan kings

Jan 31 (Island) In view of the controversies on the right of monks to unilaterally regulate the Buddhist order (sâsana) let me state that unlike in medieval Europe there were no Pope’s in SL and it was the kings who had the final say in matters of the reorganization of the Sangha, admittedly with the consent of monks. These promulgations or katikâvatas were established for the purification of order by kings who consulted distinguished monks before any promulgation was formulated. more..

An Idiot’s Guide on Why they hate us!

Jan 31 (Island) Noam Chomsky said it as far back as 1992: "No degree of cruelty is too great for Washington sadists. The educated classes know enough to look the other way." He was commenting on US efforts to maximize suffering in Vietnam by blocking economic and humanitarian assistance to the very nation it had devastated after the Vietnam War ended. Sadism was, and always is, very much a part of US military strategy in America’s constant aim to achieve world hegemony. more..

Mayhem at Homagama court

Jan 31 (CT) The Buddha is no more there to advise the people since his passing away at Kusinara in India. Just before he passed away, he advised the followers to consider Dharma (doctrine) and Vinaya (discipline) as teachers. You preached us such facts. That is why the people treat Bhikkhus as the guardians of the nation. They consider Bhikkhus representing the Buddha. Singalovada Sutta mentions about the duties of Bhikkhus more..

Forecast 2016: A Roadmap for Sri Lanka

Jan 31 (IPCS) In Sri Lanka: A Silent Revolution, the 2 Feb 2015 entry for IPCS column Dateline Colombo, authored after the victory of incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena, this author identified a few areas focus on which would improve the state of the nation at the time, and stated that "Sri Lanka, with its new administration, will need to do some serious reforms especially to strengthen the loss-making institutions, fight corruption and introduce meritocracy at all levels.” more..

Small farmer tea production falls sharply

Jan 31 (EN) Tea small holders in southern Sri Lanka have been among the worst affected by the prolonged slump in prices with production down sharply, according to an analysis of crops by a tea broker Asia Siyaka Commodities. Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB) crop figures analyzed by Siyaka Research showed the worst slump in production was in low grown teas in the southern region which accounts for the bulk of the crop. “Both High and Low Growns declined year on year with more..

Port City Project: AG's Dept to resolve legal issues

Jan 31 (SO) Attorney General's Department is now addressing 24 legal issues relating to the Colombo Port City project, Minister Champika Ranawaka said. He said the AG's Department had narrowed down the 37 legal issues to 24 to give clearance for the project to go ahead. He said basic legal issues relating to the transfer of the agreement from the Ports Authority to UDA and the legality of UDA being involved in more..

18-month jail terms for jewellery shop robbers from Pakistan

Jan 31 (ST) Two Pakistanis, who posed off as Indians and robbed gems and jewellery to the value of more than Rs. 10 million from a shop in Kollupitiya, have each been sentenced to 18 months imprisonment. They were also fined Rs. 1,500 each by Fort Magistrate. Suspects were arrested by the Kollupitiya police a day after the robbery in December last year.Two men had visited the shop claiming they wanted to buy a bracelet for their niece in India who would be getting married soon, more..

Sri Lankan Navy arrests 9 Indian fishermen for Illegal poaching

Jan 31 (IANS) At least nine Indian fishermen were arrested today by the Sri Lanka Navy for illegally poaching in the country's waters, the navy said. Two Indian fishing trawlers were also seized at the Analative island off Jaffna peninsula. The navy said the arrested fishermen along with the trawlers were handed over to the department of fisheries and aquatic resources. The arrests took place just a day after four Indian fishermen, released from Sri Lankan custody, more..

Another Rs. 4bn needed for final phase of reimbursements

Jan 31 (Island) With the wrapping up of the process of reimbursing 41% of depositors’ holdings up to Rs. 10 million, Golden Key (GK) will now have to seek another Rs. 4 billion from the Treasury to push through the third and final phase of the ongoing repayments initiative. Depositors above the Rs. 10 million segment are next in line to be repaid, but though the number of individual investors is relatively small, their holdings are substantial, more..

Opinion on legality of FCID sought

Jan 31 (SO) Law and Order Ministry has sought an opinion on the legality of the FCID, from the Attorney General's Department following parties challenging its legal status. Minister Sagala Ratnayake said the cases investigated by the FCID will continue as usual, despite the SLFP and others questioning its legality. Nevertheless they have sought an opinion on the matter. "There are several court cases challenging its legality and the courts will decide on it," he said. more..

Probe launched on Ex deputy minister

Jan 31 (SL) An investigation has commenced under the advice of the Attorney General over an alleged 7.8 million fraud by former Deputy Minister Victor Anthony Perera. Perera had obtained the money from 13 people on the promise of sending them to New Zealand for employment. The 13 people had complained to the police regarding this alleged fraud. The group also charged that although a complaint had been lodged regarding the fraudulent act of the former Deputy Minister, more..

The Colombo port makes a downward slide

Jan 31 (ST) Colombo port has made a downward slide of around 6 per cent growth last year compared to a 14% growth in 2014 and the Jaya Container Terminal fully managed by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) has continued to make losses. The Colombo port annual throughput for 2014 was 4.9 million TEUs compared to 5.1 million TEUs last year that accounted for a 6% increase, which was reportedly lower than previous more..

Suhada Gamlath not disregarded

Jan 31 (SL) The govt insisted that Solicitor General Suhada Gamlath has not been disregarded for the post of Attorney General (AG). Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said that Suhada Gamlath must be considered as there are traditions and conventions in place. He said that the President and PM will discuss the matter with the Bar Association and others before making recommendations. The AG post has been left vacant following the retirement of Attorney General more..

No evidence of ship strike risk to whales

Jan 31 (SO) A research belt dedicated to study whales will be set up soon in the seas off Mirissa in Southern Sri Lanka, said Secretary General of the Indian Ocean Marine Affairs Co-operation (IOMAC) Dr. Hiran Jayawardene. The lack of scientific evidence to prove the deaths of whales due to ship-strikes is the main issue the authorities face, for not taking a decision on shifting the current shipping lanes. Whether it is necessary or not, depends on scientific evidence," Dr. Jayawardene said. more..

SF to join UNP?

Jan 31 (DM) Democratic Party (DP) Leader Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka is yet to make a final decision on joining the UNP for the coming Local Govt Elections, General Secretary of the party Gaya Basnayake said today. UNP General Secretary Kabeer Hashim invited Fonseka and his party members to work with the UNP for the LG elections that are to be held this year. Mr. Basnayake said Central Committee meeting more..

Homagama protest: Four civilians remanded

Jan 31 (AM) Four civilians were remanded for allegedly involving in the violent protest near the Homagama Magistrate’s Court. Kamal Shantha, Mahesh Prasanna, Sena Kumara, and Chinthaka Seneviratne were said to be the arrested civilians. The protestrs were remanded by Magistrate Sudarshana Suriyapperuma, after they were produced before the Courts this afternoon. More than 200 monks representing Bodu Bala Sena, Ravana Balaya, and Sinhala Ravaya, along more..

Rohitha’s hard-hitting message on FB

Jan 31 (DM) Following the arrest of his brother Yoshith Rajapaksa, former President Rajapaksa's third son Rohitha Rajapaksa warned the Yahapalana govt with a Facebook post. "Dear Yahapalanaya..... You just stood on the tail of THE lion, now don't expect the lion, not to rip u in to parts" he said on Facebook, sharing a picture of Yoshitha Rajapaksa in handcuffs. Meanwhile, he updated a profile picture which shows him with his two brothers, Namal and Yoshitha. more..

Korea-Sri Lanka ties near 40th anniversary

Jan 31 (KH) Ahead of the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Korea, Sri Lanka is enhancing its partnership with Korea and promoting itself as an attractive investment destination in the Indian Ocean. The island country has registered annual growth of 6% over the last 10 years, and presents itself as a logistics hub linking East Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia. more..

From elephants, temples and tea plantations

Jan 31 (MO) I can think of few better places in the world to be eating lunch than over-looking a herd of elephants bathing in a river just below me. Majestic creatures - residents of Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage - are escorted to Maha Oya River twice a day to relax and interact with each other and to be ogled at by tourists. The experience is perhaps one of my most exhilarating in a country that prides itself on being vibrant in every sense of the word and is absolutely fantastic for being so. more..

CPA Asia Regional seminar on Human Rights commences tomorrow

Jan 31 (GDI) The Commonwealth Secretariat, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (Sri Lanka branch) will jointly organize a seminar on "the Role of the Parliamentarians in the promotion and the protection of the Human Rights (HR) from February 1st - 3rd for the CPA Asia, India and South East Asia regions. Delegates from Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are due to attend this seminar more..