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My dear Mahinda, I don’t want to see you going towards further goom: Mangala

May 16 (CT) My dear Mahinda, I still vividly recall the first time I met you. It was at the SLFP Party Headquarters on Darley Road in June 1988, which I attended in my capacity as the new SLFP organizer for Matara. I also remember being moved by the impassioned speech you made during the meeting about the widespread disappearances across the country and the responsibility of the SLFP playing an active role in finding these persons. I found your words exhilarating and it was more..

May 18: Day of Remembrance : No victory parade

May 16 (SO) Govt has decided to mark May 18 as a Day of Remembrance of fallen heroes. In the past it was a massive military show of strength. The day marks the end of the three-decade long armed conflict in Sri Lanka. The people in the North, however, with the backing of a few politicians and civil organisations were planning to mark it as a week of mourning. Expressing his views on the forthcoming event on May 18, more..

Testing the difference between the new and the old

May 16 (ST) In a notably pungent observation at the close of her mission visit to Sri Lanka this month, the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers Mónica Pinto took pains to remind SL’s Constitutional Council of one fact. This was that the Council, set up with great expectations under the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, must make its rules of procedure and functional regulations publicly available. As she pointed out in her preliminary findings, more..

Editorial: Fleeced by messiahs

May 16 (Island) Tax increases are beginning to kick in. They have already sent the ordinary public reeling. It is feared that the worst is yet to come. Astronomical increases in private health care costs due to the VAT hike have dealt a paralysing blow to the sick. About 56 percent of the country’s total health expenditure is borne by patients themselves while the government share thereof remains as low as 43%, as an article in this newspaper pointed out recently. Numerous are the expensive tests more..

'Country lacks leaders'

May 16 (CT) Prof. Sarath Wijesooriya excoriated the govt claiming to have walked out of promises given to the people during the last presidential campaign. He severely criticized the investigations and prosecution mechanism against alleged corruption and mega deals of the previous govt. "We learnt from our trusted sources that a minister had extended to all SLFP ministers in the Cabinet the assurance more..

Penalties worse than the offence

May 16 (NS) The recent shenanigans in Parliament that left one MP in hospital and two others suspended for one week are a reflection of the depths the legislature has descended to in recent decades. Worse still, there is no sign of that trend being reversed either. The entire episode could have been called a comedy of errors if not for the fact that these were individuals who were chosen to represent the people. That they were acting like they did in the most hallowed of assemblies more..

Impact of ETCA on Sri Lanka’s trade

May 16 (NS) As discussed in my previous article, it is important to evaluate the impact on Sri Lanka of signing the Economic and Technology Cooperative Agreement (ETCA) with India. Being in close proximity to a large and rapidly-growing economy and zonal leader like India, it is imperative to perceive ETCA as a growth potential, amidst all the controversies it has generated in the country. One significant recent development is that SL exports to India have been rising in the past few years. more..

Sarath Fonseka

Storm in a tea cup as 61 Lankans are named in the Panama Papers

May 16 (ST) But where’s the proof that will stand up in court? This week the world got its second instalment of the Panama Papers and Lanka received the names of 61 Lankans listed in that damning dossier. Immediately the call came from various quarters for stern action to be taken against the listed locals and Minister Ravi Karunanayake promised that each and every Sri Lankan whose names were linked to the Panama Papers and Offshore Leaks would be investigated. more..

If MPs can fight, then why can’t we?

May 16 (CT) Students of a Primary school in Wellawaya fought with each other last week, using brooms, stating that it is alright for them to fight since Parliamentarians also fight. This fight has occurred last Thursday (12) morning before the class teachers had arrived. The principal of the school has seen the students fighting each other using brooms, rugs and other cleaning utensils and attempted to break up the fight. When he asked the students why they are fighting more..

Injured Prasad ruled out of first Test

May 16 (CI) With the first Test less than a week away, SL coach Graham Ford was satisfied with what he saw on the final day of his side's last warm-up match. Leicestershire, despite making nine changes to their first XI, gave the tourists a good work out in a low-key encounter. Less pleasing for Sri Lanka was the confirmation that Dhammika Prasad has been ruled out of playing at Headingley. Prasad injured his shoulder while bowling more..

Two Days of LTTE Terror at Sri Lanka Festival in Toronto

May 16 (Island) I hear from my friends connected to the government in Ottawa that Gary (name taken) Anandasangaree, MP in Canada, has prevented a motion in parliament to declare January as Tamil Heritage month and today there will be a roundtable in the Canadian parliament to discuss what is described as Tamil genocide. I have no issues with naming a heritage month for any community, Tamil, Sinhala, Muslim or Egyptian. However, there is a problem when pro-LTTE MPs more..

Key Ministers to outline reforms push at top forum tomorrow

May 16 (FT) Several key Ministers will outline the Govt’s reforms push at a unique full day forum on Tuesday organised by the Daily FT in partnership with the Colombo University MBA Alumni Association. Ministers Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Ravi Karunanayake, Duminda Dissanayake, John Senevirante, Sujeewa Senasinghe and Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne are among key leaders from the Govt who will share the full day forum on 17 May at Hotel Galadari starting at 9.00 a.m. more..

Damaging downpour!

May 16 (FT) Heavy rains lashing for a second day on Sunday with over 100 mm rainfalls and gusting winds have flooded streets in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo creating major traffic jams while Met Department predicted more thundershowers over most parts of the island. The heavy downpour and deluge reportedly killed two people and displaced around 500 people. A tornado in Pandura caused widespread concern as more..

Sarath Weerawansa dodges FCID

May 16 (LT) Sarath Weerawansa, elder brother of former Minister Wimal Weerawansa and a senior official of the State Engineering Corporation, was summoned to FCID today (14th) but failed to turn up say reports. Several newspapers and websites had published that Sarath Weerawansa, while he held a senior position in State Engineering Corporation the vehicle bearing registered number PB 0645 and registered under his wife Nandini Sriyalatha’s name was rented to Presidential Secretariat, more..

SL students win 5 awards at Intel ISEF 2016

May 16 (FT) Team Sri Lanka succeeded with five awards at this year’s Intel International Science Engineering Fair, world’s largest high school science & research competition, which concluded in Phoenix, Arizona. Abishekh Gomes from Belvoir College, won a grand award and two special awards while Chamindu Jayasanka from Hanwella Rajasinghe College & Lochana Piyumantha from Madampe Senanayake College clinched two special awards for their innovations. more..

'MR is entitled to have such facilities'

May 16 (DM) Former President Rajapaksa is entitled to be facilitated by the state for his travel expenses on official tours such as the Uganda trip, according to the law governing benefits for retiring presidents in the Presidents’ Entitlement Act no. 4 of 1986, his Private Secretary Udith Lokubandara said. He said there was no preference given by Foreign Ministry to Mr. Rajapaksa, in deciding to bear travel expenses more..

Sri Lanka loses golden opportunity to SLRFU blunder

May 16 (DN) Thanks to the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union’s (SLRFU) blunder Sri Lanka lost a golden opportunity of playing in the top league of the Asian Rugby Championship - Top 3 and with Malaysia winning the Division One title on Saturday they get the rare chance of rubbing shoulders with the elite Asian nations next year. Sri Lanka by virtue of winning the Asian Rugby Championship – Division 1 last year could easily have taken part in the Top 3 of the championships this year but more..

Noor Dubai concludes medical treatment campaign in Sri Lanka

May 16 (WAM) Noor Dubai Foundation has succeeded in diagnosing, treating and caring for more than 1,553 eye patients in Kattankudy. The Foundation conducted at its camp 462 surgeries and distributed 465 eyeglasses to the visually impaired with the support of the Dubai Islamic Humanitarian Foundation. This is the second of four such therapeutic camps to be organised in Sri Lanka by the Noor Dubai Foundation during the current year to alleviate the suffering of people more..

Beyonce's Ivy Park Collection reportedly made in Sri Lankan sweatshops

May 16 (SUN) Beyoncé's new high street sportswear range for Topshop is made using sweat shop labour earning just £4.30 a day, we can reveal. The revelation heaps more pressure on under-fire fashion tycoon Sir Philip Green, who faces a grilling from MPs about his role in the collapse of BHS. The chain’s demise put 11,000 jobs at risk and left a £570 million pensions black hole. more..

‘Dialog to invest USD 125 million on expansion activities this year’

May 16 (Island) Sri Lanka's premier mobile phone service provider and owner of the Pay TV network and Dialog Television, Dialog Axiata, will invest US $ 125 million for all its expansion activities this year, the Group's CEO Hans Wijayasuriya said. "We are quite optimistic about the way Sri Lanka's mobile communication sector is developing. Therefore, we are planning to invest in a big way in the future to give an experience on the latest technology for Sri Lankans", he said. more..

Ravi explains govt plight to Kandy business community

May 16 (Island) The govt did not intend to burden the people by imposing taxes. But, it was compelled even with reluctance to tax the people to run the govt, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake told a meeting of representatives of the business community of Kandy on Sunday. The govt apart from maintaining itself is compelled to pay back the huge foreign debt, Minister told the business community at Mahawali Reach Hotel. The govt was all out to assist the business community. more..

CB Governor must go: JVP

State Vesak Festival 2016 in Hambantota

May 16 (FT) The State Vesak Festival- 2016 will be held from 18-24 May in Hambantota district centering around the Nayigala Rajamaha temple in Weeraketiya. The inauguration of the festival will be held on Wednesday (18) at the Kasagala Rajamaha Viharaya with the ordination of 35 at the temple premises. As scheduled, several religious programs will be held on 19th and 20th May at the Nayigala temple and the full day Sil campaign will be held on Vesak Poyaday (21). more..

Laksala Q1 sales surge by 12%

May 16 (FT) Sri Lanka’s only national gift and souvenir boutique has notched increased sales in Q1 and aims for a huge Rs. 1 billion turnover this year by leveraging the country’s growth in tourism. “I am pleased that Laksala has shown increasing sales growth. I believe Laksala can Rs. 1 billion in 2016,” said a satisfied Minister Rishad Bathiudeen. Minister Bathiudeen, under whose purview Laksala falls, was remarking after being briefed by SL Handicraft Board Laksala CEO Ali Ahlam Nawaz on more..

PMSD has recommended bombproof vehicles for PM: Sagala

May 16 (Island) The PM’s Security Division (PMSD) has recommended the immediate acquisition of bullet proof vehicles capable of withstanding explosions. Minister Sagala Ratnayake, who is also Chief of Staff of Premier, said the PMSD had made the recommendation for acquiring security vehicles after having examined threats faced by the Premier. In a statement issued through his office as well as the Office of PM, Minister revealed more..

Three wheeler driver knifed for refusing to go on hire; suspect remanded

May 16 (DN) A three-wheeler driver who refused to go on a hire was attacked with a large knife by a suspect known to have a criminal record. The driver sustained serious injuries Akuressa Police sources reported. The suspect who then fled was arrested in Mawarala along with the knife. He was produced before the Matara Magistrate’s Court and remanded until May 25. Three suspects had come to the three-wheeler stand near the Akuressa bus stand and inquired whether more..

Dananjaya, Dharshana, Madara, Santhush among best performers

May 16 (Island) Hurdler Anura Darshana, sprinters Madara Weerasuriya and Santhush Weerasinghe and jumper Greshan Dananjaya were among a host of up and coming athletes to beat hostile weather and deteriorating track conditions to make it a memorable Junior Nationals concluded with 14 new meet records and one national record at Diyagama. Darshana proved that his impressive performances last year were not fluke as he impressed in the 400 metres and 400 metres hurdles. more..

VAT increase, viewed against super luxury vehicles for MPs, extremely unfair

May 16 (Island) Convenor of NMSJ Prof. Sarath Wijesooriya said that the sharp increase in VAT couldn’t be justified on any grounds against the backdrop of permits for MPs to to import tax free super luxury vehicles. He said that recent media reports pertaining to a member of the Joint Opposition representing the SLFP and the TNA taking delivery of super luxury vehicles highlighted the absurdity in govt efforts to raise funds more..

New laws needed to regulate MPs acts of tarnishing country’s image

May 16 (CT) Legal experts claim that new regulations should be formulated to prevent politicians from taking part in ceremonies that tarnish the image of Sri Lanka. Human Rights activist and Attorney-at-Law S.G. Punchihewa said this commenting on the fact that former President and MP Mahinda Rajapaksa took part in a ceremony which was attended by a wanted person by the The International Criminal Court (ICC) in Uganda. Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, more..

Singpore hospital chain interested in Lanka Hospitals

May 16 (ST) A Singapore hospital chain has shown interest in a majority stake in Lanka Hospitals Corporation (LHCL), should the govt decide to divest these shares, officials said. ”This is a renowned chain and they want controlling ownership in LHCL,” an official said. He said that a powerful state minister is negotiating this deal. Singaporeans are due to come next month for further discussion, he added. Local hospital operators – Hemas and Softlogic Group are also interested. more..

Rainfall replaces heat waves

May 16 (CT) We have experienced uncomfortable and intolerable heat waves during the last few months as a result of the unbearably warm phase of the El Niño cycle. As the conditions of the El Niño are gradually neutralizing, the unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific have been steadily decreasing. This is due to the gradual approach of the Southwest monsoon season which generally lasts from May to September. more..

CB destroys 110.5 mil soiled currency notes

May 16 (DN) Central Bank (CB) destroyed 110.5 million soiled currency notes bearing a face value of Rs.16.46 billion in an attempt to maintain its clean currency note policy. CB sources said maintaining a clean note policy will help to maintain the country’s image and to extend the life span of notes printed for circulation. Keeping currency notes clean will also help its efforts to control fake currency notes. They said keeping notes clean will help officials to identify fake notes more easily as more..

President Maithripala Sirisena returns

May 16 (ITN) President Maithripala Sirisena returned to the island after a successful two day official tour in India. Considering the President’s tour as an honor, the Indian Govt has decided to name the entry road to Saanchi University and the Park by his name. President Maithripala Sirisena returned to the island last night. The President who attended an anti-corruption Summit in Britain, arrived in India on an invitation from PM Narendra Modi. President attended the ceremony to unveil more..

SL denies building naval facility on islet

May 16 (Hindu) SL Navy dismissed reports that it planned to build a naval facility on the Katchatheevu islet, which was ceded by India to SL during the June 1974 bilateral agreement. Navy Commander Ravindra Wijegunaratne termed as baseless the reports that Navy had planned to install a detachment on the islet. “Our role in proposed construction of a new shrine at St. Anthony’s church has been blown out of proportion,” he said. more..

Smart growth rate but stay on the positive network

May 16 (DM) Tomorrow is World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) and this year the theme will be ICT entrepreneurship for social impact, in accordance with Resolution 68 and as endorsed by the International Telecommunication Union. According to the ITU, ICT entrepreneurs, start-ups and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have a particularly relevant role in ensuring economic growth in a sustainable and inclusive manner. more..

MR in Uganda Birds of a feather flock together

May 16 (DM) Last week, ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa travelled to Uganda to grace the inauguration ceremony of President Yoweri Museveni, who was sworn-in for his fifth term. It could have been a bitter sweet moment for MR, who like his host, dreamt of being the President for life and amended the constitution to that effect, but, alas, then lost the election to his former health minister. MR was among an illustrious gathering of African leaders, including Chad, Ethiopia, more..

'Coal and renewable energy should go hand-in-hand'

May 16 (DM) Contradicting environmentalists’ view that coal should be abandoned in the process of electricity production, Managing Director of Resource Management Associates Dr. Tilak Siyambalapitiya states that coal has an important role to play in electricity production as much as renewable energy sources. He said that a mix of both coal and renewable energy sources was required in process of producing electricity more..

Sri Lanka to demolish all jails ...

May 16 (Island) Sri Lanka is to demolish its 28 prisons and build new ones of international standards in the outskirts of towns, says the Minister D.M. Swaminathan. Most of the prisons are over a hundred years old and ill-maintained. While the population has increased and the crime rate has also gone up, the number of prisons and their size, has remained the same, he told a group of select correspondents. more..

Death by ragging

May 16 (SL) Every parent cherishes the hope that one day their child may become a university graduate. However, at present, the term university has been linked with the scourge of ragging, thus tainting that great hope with apprehension and fear. The recent incident of ragging at the University of Kelaniya ignited much public disgust and anger. As a result of this incident, seven senior female students were sent to more..