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Basil’s wife, daughter informs PRECIFAC they are abroad

May 13 (DM) Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa’s wife Pushpa and daughter Thejani, who were summoned by the PRECIFAC today, have informed the commission for the second time that they were unable to report to the commission. A spokesman for the commission said they have informed the police unit of the commission that they were unable to make it today as they were out of the country. He said they had been asked to report to the commission over the same matter on May 4 more..

Youth kidnapped; demanded Rs.20 million

May 13 (AD) An intensive search operation is underway to find whereabouts of a youth who has been reportedly kidnapped by an unidentified group of people in Wariyapola, the police said. According to police, the kidnappers have demanded Rs. 20 million from the parents for the release of the youth. Victim Mohammad Aasif, 20, was last seen leaving a shop owned by his father approximate 700 meters away the place where he was abducted, Ada Derana reporter said. more..

JO calls for interim budget from govt

May 13 (DM) The joint opposition urged the govt to present an interim budget in the Parliament as the original budget proposals approved by the House earlier have been now negated after the tax revision. Joint opposition leader MP Dinesh Gunewardena said they had sent a written request to the President and the Prime Minister by including particulars on the 2016 budget and the recent VAT increment due to the conditions more..

UK moves to speed up assets recovery for Sri Lanka, others

May 13 (DM) Global Forum for Asset Recovery will bring together govts and law enforcement agencies to discuss returning assets to Nigeria, Ukraine, Sri Lanka and Tunisia. The meeting will be held in the US next year, co-hosted with the UK, and supported by the UN and the World Bank. UK PM David Cameron made the announcement at a global anti-corruption summit in London on Thursday. It was being hailed as the first of its kind, bringing together govts, business and other organisations. more..

Eyeing separate War Heroes Commemoration: Bandula

May 13 (AD) A separate National War Heroes Commemoration Ceremony 2016 will also be held under the patronage of former President Rajapaksa in Kurunegala, MP Bandula Gunawardena says. According to him, the ceremony will be held at the Buddha Maha Pirivena in Kurunegala. State minister of defence earlier said the main National War Heroes Commemoration Ceremony 2016 will be held under the patronage of President Sirisena at the War Memorial in Battaramulla on 18 May. more..

President arrives in India

May 13 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena arrived in Indira Gandhi Airport in New Delhi today, starting his two days visit to India on an invitation by the Indian PM Narendra Modi. President was welcomed with special honours at the airport by Defense State Minister Rao Indrajit Singh and SL High Commissioner Esala Weerakoon and other officials. Official meeting between President Sirisena and the Indian PM will be held today more..

President to visit Sanchi tomorrow

May 13 (PTI) President Maithripala Sirisena will visit Sanchi in neighbouring Raisen district tomorrow to take part in a programme of Mahabodhi Society. Sirisena will spend nearly an hour at Mahabodhi Society premises in Sanchi and unveil the statue of Sri Lankan Buddhist leader Angarika Dharmapala, who played a major role in the revival of Buddhism in India, Coordinator of Society, S A Siddiqui said. President will also perform puja and pay his respect to relics of Budhha’s disciple on the occasion. more..

SEC blocks share transaction of Blue Diamonds

May 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s securities regulator on Friday blocked a share transaction related to the chairman of Blue Diamonds Jewellery Worldwide following a possible violation of laws. As per the statement issued by the SEC, earlier this week Xia Liqiang, the Chairman of Blue Diamonds has disposed 15,146,200 shares pertaining to Blue Diamonds. “The SEC has reason to believe that the above said trade may have been carried out in violation of the provisions of the SEC Act more..

Video: Sri Lanka seeking assistance to trace stolen assets: President

May 13 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisena reiterated that his primary duty was to root out corruption in Sri Lanka. Speaking at the Anti-Corruption summit in London, Sirisena outlined several initiatives taken by him and the government to fight corruption in the country. “Corruption is one of the factors that promote political violence and other forms of human rights abuses. SL too went through such a phase during previous regime, more..

Apocalypse at Hand?

May 14 (CT) Political circles were rather taken aback when the President flew abroad just when Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe returned to the island. That President Sirisena did so immediately after news broke that State Intelligence had revealed to him a meeting between some five Major Generals and Basil Rajapaksa was no doubt only a coincidence because his trip had been planned ahead. It would, however, suggest that the President & PM are in constant touch with each other, more..

Schools and Good Governance

May 14 (CT) The PM recently spoke of an education plan which will be introduced this year. Unlike in the environment created by the dictatorial Republican Constitutions of 1972 and 1978, every plan should be in a good governance environment in which equal treatment of every citizen is a must. All educational reforms since independence achieved nothing but further discrimination except the reforms under C.W.W. Kannangara due to non inclusion of the school system in the reforms. more..

Colombo: By 2018 rabies free

May 14 (SO) Each year over 50,000 people die of rabies throughout the world, more than 31,000 of these deaths occur in Asia. The virus when it takes hold, is among the world's deadliest diseases: only one un-vaccinated survivor has so far been recorded. While rabies prevalence in Sri Lanka has been on the decline, the disease is endemic in the animal population and therefore poses a continuous public health concern. more..

Sri Lanka PM’s visit to China

May 14 (SL) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s 4-day visit to China from April 6 to 9 had kindled a lot of interest as Colombo-Beijing relations had taken a down turn after his govt came to power. An article on the eve of PM’s visit published in the Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece Global Times emphasised SL’s strategic importance. It said ‘Currently, China-funded constructions in Pakistan cannot serve as a strong foothold for China, given the calamitous state of Pakistan’s security. more..

LTTE: Inching back to int'l safety-net?

May 14 (SL) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe needs to be congratulated and thanked for re-assuring the nation that there was no threat of LTTE resurgence. The TNA, for its part, has promptly distanced itself from an LTTE sympathiser arrested in the Tamil-majority North. PM Wickremesinghe has quoted police and Military Intelligence (MI) officials in the matter. TNA spokesperson, M A Sumanthiran, was speaking about Sasiharan, who was arrested recently in a follow-up to the recent recovery of more..

Temasek model not for all SOEs: Salley

May 14 (NS) As Sri Lanka plans to draw inspiration from the Singapore-styled Temasek Holdings in managing the continuously loss-making state-owned-enterprises (SOE), the island nation should look to place only selected SOEs in the event such a state-owned investment company is set up and not all of them, a top Economist has advocated. Speaking in an interview published in The State of State Enterprises in Sri Lanka more..

Editorial: From plunder to recovery

May 14 (Island) Whoever would have thought, during the dreadful colonial days, that Britain, which was plundering the wealth of weaker nations to sustain and expand its empire, would one day take up the cudgels for its victims? Such a prognosis in those dark days of human civilization would certainly have been laughed off. But, today, Britain has, together with the US and others, embarked on a mission to help recover the stolen wealth of poor nations. more..

Climate change, floods and landslides

May 13 (DM) The shifting and unpredictable weather pattern is the most talked about topic today, especially in SL. Met Department, National Building Research Organisation and several other associated divisions engage in constructive discourse regarding this concern. Extreme heat, heavy rain, landslides and lightning are among the main issues faced by the people. Who or what is the cause for all these changes? It is a well-known fact that humans itself are the cause for all these transformations. more..

Palitha Thewarapperuma

Is India the key beneficiary of the India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement?

May 13 (DM) In the current debate on India-Sri Lanka trade, it is often said that the trade deficit between India and Sri Lanka has widened over the years in India’s favour and thus India is the major beneficiary of the India-SL FTA which came in to operation in 2000. It is true that the trade deficit between the two countries has increased over the years but does that really mean that India was the major beneficiary of the FTA? Let us look at this issue from a general perspective more..

Franchise & democracy: In theory & practice

May 14 (Island) The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and our Constitution declare the exercise of the franchise as a basic and inalienable right. Many writers have extolled it as a considerable virtue and a treasured right to be zealously guarded. Is it in fact so? Universal franchise is supposedly the ultimate blessing. This is presented as a self-evident truth – but as with many such, it could be grievously wrong. Practice, assuredly, should match theory. The vote and democracy are inextricably linked. more..

Sri Lanka has potential: Richard Branson

May 13 (FT) “Clearly, there is so much potential [in Sri Lanka], and that’s the one thing that any entrepreneur seeks out, because it’s the perfect storm in business – commercial gain, and the chance to transform lives...” says Sir Richard Branson, in a wide ranging interview published in the May edition of leading business magazine LMD. As to whether the Virgin Group boss will invest his hard-earned money in SL, more..

The new Spirit of the Police

May 14 (Island) Speaking at the reception given to him by his old school, Dharmaraja College, Kandy, the new IGP gave out the secret behind his elevation to this important position. It was blessings that came from his invoking the help of spiritual powers, through a rigorous exercise in Pirith chanting and floral offerings at the Gangaramaya, Colombo – giving up his early morning exercises for physical fitness, that brought him to this position, he said to the reported laughter of the audience. more..

Easy way-out for school admission

May 14 (NS) Maverick UNP MP and Deputy Minister Palitha Thevarapperuma was much in the news in the past few weeks. Firstly, it was for taking part in a fracas in the parliament for which he was banned from parliament for one week and secondly, for forcibly admitting a child to Kalutara Vidyalaya. Child’s parents perhaps were his political supporters and we do not challenge his right to intervene if any injustice had been done to the child, but the method employed was not certainly more..

Ravi calls for more unbiased journalism

May 14 (DN) The media and journalists should tell the truth to the people and report all aspects of an issue/situation without being biased when doing their job, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. “They may have political affiliations but they should not be biased. The previous regime handed over a grenade to the current Govt after removing its pin,” he said. Addressing the gathering after distributing motorcycles among journalists more..

Sacred sites of Sri Lanka

May 14 (KTW) I can barely believe we are here. This island country off the southeast coast of India was known as Ceylon until 1972 and it has long been on my bucket list as one of the world’s most exotic places. Looking out over Beira Lake, in the heart of Colombo, we find a tranquil pause from the energetic pace of the capital’s business area. Another favourite are walks in swirling tropical breezes along Galle Face Green, the grassy space running beside the Indian Ocean. more..

CSE Chairman Chairs 4th SAFE Executive Committee Board Meeting in Mumbai

May 14 (LBO) Mr. Vajira Kulatilaka, the Chairman of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), in his capacity as the Chairman of the South Asian Federation of Exchanges (SAFE) recently chaired the 4thSAFE Executive Committee Board Meeting and Ideas Workshop held in Mumbai. Leaders representing capital markets across South Asia were present at the event to discuss the vision and direction for the federation going forward. Sri Lanka took up Chairmanship of SAFE Secretariat in 2015, more..

Lankan refugees cause doesn't excite Tamil voters anymore

May 14 (DNA) Right outside India's largest refugee camp at Mandapam in the south eastern tip of TN, is a shop selling coconuts and packaged water belonging to a SL refugee, Ayub Khan (28). Called Lanka Store, Ayub says he deliberately removed the word Sri from Sri Lanka. "The war might be over but SL has become a more dangerous place to live for Tamils. I won't use Sri for Lanka on my shop because country has gone to dogs" more..

SLT Group 1Q 2016 revenue up 10%

May 14 (Island) Sri Lanka Telecom PLC (SLT), the national ICT solutions provider released financial statements of the 1st Quarter 2016 of the Company and Group. The group consists of 8 subsidiaries including the mobile operator Mobitel (Pvt) Ltd. The Groups focus in providing state of the art services by introducing new technologies and expanding the available infrastructure, results in reporting Rs. 18.4 bn revenue during the 1st quarter 2016 with a year on year growth of 10%. more..

NWP crowned U19 provincial champs

May 14 (DN) North Western Province crowned themselves as champions of the first Super Under 19 provincial cricket tournament when they won the 3-day final on the first innings in a drawn game played at the R Premadasa Stadium yesterday. NWP who had a healthy 95 run first innings lead dismissed Southern in their second innings for 214 leaving themselves with a target of 120 to chase for victory. They reached 46-4 off 22 overs before the game ended. more..

'Seychelles ready to support Lanka’s probe on off-shore bank accounts'

May 14 (DN) The Seychelles govt is ready to cooperate with the Sri Lankan govt in its efforts to investigate into fraud and corruption, especially with regard to off-shore bank accounts and assets in the Seychelles. The Seychelles is already cooperating with the Sri Lankan govt through the Finance Investigation Unit in Seychelles with regard to investigations into any fraud and corruption. Seychelles Minister Didlier Dogley said. more..

Golden jubilee celebration of Washington Buddhist Vihara

May 14 (FT) Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser attending the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of Washington Buddhist Vihara on 1 May, declared the day as the Washington Buddhist Vihara Day, recognising in the Declaration that the District of Columbia is the home to the first Theravada Buddhist Temple in America and that the Vihara has been dedicated to presentation of Buddhism and extending welcome to all. Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam joined Mayor on this occasion. more..

Basil’s arrest was pre-planned: Wimal

May 14 (DM) The NFF said that FCID’s arrest of former Minister Basil Rajapaksa was a planned action of the government and the JVP which supported it indirectly. NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa said in a statement that the unofficial website of the JVP carried a news item beforehand saying that a member of the Rajapaksa family was to be arrested. Mr. Weerawansa said the arrest was made to divert the peoples’ mounting protest against the govt because of its anti-people actions. more..

Vasu wants Sri Lanka to emulate Cuba

May 14 (Island) Former UPFA Minister and veteran leftist, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, said that the US was adopting a dubious policy towards Cuba. While it was continuing with economic sanctions against that country on the one hand it was trying to improve its diplomatic relations with the island nation off the coast of its state of Florida on the other hand, he said. "Strengthening of diplomatic ties and President Obama’s visit to more..

Bradby Shield: Royal go as favourites but history is against them

May 14 (DN) Will history repeat itself in the second leg of the 72nd Bradby Shield when third row forward Rahul Karunathilaka’s Trinity College Kandy locks horns with number eight Nikila Gunadheera’s Royal College Colombo at the Trinity Sports Complex in Pallekelle, today at 4.30 pm. Royal are the firm favourites to win the game and retain the Shield as they are already enjoying the luxury of a five point lead in the bag having won at the Royal Sports Complex in Colombo a fortnight back. more..

PM asks IGP to probe incident at Matara Magistrate's Court

May 14 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has directed IGP Pujith Jayasundera to investigate the incident which occurred at the Matara Magistrate's Court where journalists were alleged to have been barred from reporting proceedings when former minister Basil Rajapaksa was produced in Court. Journalists were barred from entering the Court premises nor were they allowed to cover the proceedings. The journalists had complained to senior DIG Chandana Wickramaratne who more..

Old habits die hard for Mahinda

May 14 (FT) Former President Rajapaksa’s much-hyped trip to Uganda this week was plunged into controversy after documents emerged showing the former leader had requested the Govt to pay his travel expenses and facilitate his visit to the African country. The ex President was invited to attend the inauguration of the controversial Uganda President Yoweni Musaveni who was sworn into office for the fifth time this week after more..

Mendis, Shanaka provide SL substance

May 14 (CI) If tour games are all about acclimatisation, then Leicester did its best to prepare Sri Lanka for Leeds next week. A blanket of cloud, a chill in the air and early pace in the pitch offered a taster menu for Headingley. Although it is safe to say the huddle of autograph hunters that greeted their every appearance at the pavilion steps were a touch more welcoming than a well-oiled Western Terrace. The final day of their previous tour match against Essex was washed out by rain, more..

Media Secretary in latest stunt storms into Rupavahini, demands apology

May 14 (CT) Newly appointed Mass Media Secretary, Nimal Bopage was involved in yet another stunt on Friday morning, after he allegedly stormed into the office of the Rupavahini Corporation and demanded it’s hierarchy and employees to apologise to him for carrying an unfavourable news item on him. Highly places sources said that a furious Bopage had walked into Rupavahini, summoned the staff, including it’s chairman and had demanded they apologise more..

On 40th anniversary, Vaddukoddai resolution triggers divergent views

May 14 (Hindu) In a strange coincidence, President Maithripala Sirisena and Leader of the Opposition R. Sampanthan will participate together in a public event on Saturday, which marks the 40th anniversary of the Vaddukoddai resolution. Two leaders will be in the ancient Indian city of Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh to take part in the valedictory event of the Kumbh Mela. Forty years ago, Mr. Sampanthan — then more..

Tilvin sues Weerawansa for Rs. 100 million

May 14 (Island) Colombo Commercial High Court Judge fixed for trial on July 8, a complaint filed by the Secretary of JVP, Tilvin Silva complaining that Wimal Weerawansa has violated the intellectual property rights of the JVP by publishing a book titled, Neththa Wenuwata Eththa. The complainant has demanded Rs. 100 million damages from the defendant, who he had alleged, published minutes of party meetings without permission from the party leader or the party executive committee. more..