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Sri Lanka moving ahead with Panama Papers probe, says minister

May 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s govt is following up on the Panama Papers leaks and has requested for an official list from authorities in Panama, State Minister Niroshan Perera said. “Central Bank Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has contacted authorities in Panama to obtain an official list,” Perera told LBO. “Based on the list we will request a police investigations unit to commence investigations,” he said. more..

Parliament inundated

May 17 (CT) The Tri-Forces were deployed yesterday to the Parliament area to control the flood waters gushing from the Diyawanna Oya from seeping into the Parliament premises following heavy torrential rains which continued to lash from the wee hours of Sunday. Reports claimed that flood waters were seeping through the sand bags around the Parliament premises into the Parliament. more..

Mannar court releases 21 Indian fishermen

May 17 (TOI) A court in Mannar on Tuesday released 21 Indian fishermen from a jail in that country. These fishermen, hailing from Pamban in Tamil Nadu, and their country boats were detained by Sri Lankan naval agencies on April 27 on charges of poaching in the territorial waters of the island nation. On Monday, a Kytes court released 13 Indian fishermen who were held on the same charges on April 4. U Arulanandam of Alliance for Release of Innocent Fishermen said more..

There shold be more focus on increasing exports

May 17 (CT) Recently, it was reported that the EU-Sri Lanka Working Group on Trade and Economic Cooperation that met on 11 May 2016 in Brussels discussed issues related to bilateral trade and investment and possible means for their promotion in a mutually beneficial manner. In particular, Sri Lanka's access to the EU's GSP+ facilities within the scope of the European Union's GSP Regulation was discussed at length. The talks underscored the fact that Sri Lanka had made significant progress more..

හිටපු විගණකාධිපති සරත් මායාදුන්නේ

The national question: The eye of the storm

May 17 (CT) It is important to raise the discussion on the National Question beyond just agitated and polarized polemics to a level of a theoretical discourse where contending arguments can be evaluated based on the sheer logic of rational discourse and persuasion. This will be important for two main reasons; The National Question is, once again, going to occupy center stage in the unfolding of volcanic political turmoil and violent contention that could tear and split society apart. more..

45,000 litres of illicit liquor seized

May 17 (Island) The Special Raid officers of the Excise Department yesterday took into custody a suspect and a van he used for transporting 16 cans containing 45,000 litres of illicit alcohol with a street value of Rs. 3 million. The suspect would be produced before the Marawila Magistrate tomorrow, the Excise officers said, adding that he had earlier succeeded in evading arrest. The moonshine nabbed was to be transported to Colombo to be distributed during the Vesak season, more..

Garbage: The beginning of the end!

May 17 (CT) The issue of solid waste in the Colombo District has been stressed and emphasized over the last few decades in both the print and electronic media to the point of excruciating boredom! The issues, both environmental and social, have been hitherto nauseating as the garbage mounds themselves! The Colombo District has, cumulatively, 8 million tons of garbage or solid waste, scattered or dispersed in 4 locations, more..

Clean home helps control asthma

May 17 (Island) Director General Health Services, Dr Palitha Mahipala said asthma could be controlled by keeping a clean home. Addressing the media seminar in view of World Asthma Day, which was commemorated on May 3, he said a home needed proper ventilation. Even its hearth should be built in a place outside the house so that one does not breathe in the smoke emanating from fire wood. Dr. Mahipala said according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) the number of deaths more..

Healing the wounds of war in Sri Lanka

May 17 (NST) Does political stability have an effect on the plight of refugees? If a country has been plagued by decades of infighting, can political stability increase the prospects for reconciliation and a lasting peace? Sri Lanka is witnessing a complex, transformative era in politics — President Maithripala Sirisena’s victory in January last year, coupled with the election of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe in August that year — underscore momentum for political reform in the country. more..

Video: Wimal hits out at Mervyn's mask

May 17 (DM) Former Minister Mervyn Silva’s formation of the actual joint opposition was a pre-Vesak mask performance scripted by President Maithripala Sirisena, the NFF claimed yesterday. Addressing a media briefing, NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa said the govt had started to present Vesak mask performances even before the dawn of Vesak. “Such a dance was staged at Kelaniya by using a banner which more..

President declared open the new Dathu Mandiraya at Galgoda Srimaha Viharaya

May 17 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena declared open the newly built Dathu Mandiraya at the Galgoda Srimaha Viharaya in Panadura to deposit the Sacred Relics of the Lord Buddha and other 25 Arahaths gifted from Burma, on May 15. After unveiling the plaque at the Dathu Mandiraya the President offered flowers to the Sacred Relics. The President also called on the Most.Ven. Pothupitiye Pannasekera Nayaka Thero and offered pirikara to the Thero. more..

Bangladeshi probe panel's chief says SWIFT responsible for cyber theft

May 17 (Reuters) A Bangladesh government-appointed panel investigating the theft of $81 million from the country's central bank has found that SWIFT, the international banking payments network, committed a number of mistakes in connecting up a local network, the panel head said on Sunday. "We have shown that SWIFT made a number of errors that made it easy for the hackers," Mohammed Farashuddin, a former governor of the Bangladeshi central bank, told reporters. more..

Video: Bandula wants Select Committee of Parliament to probe bond issue

May 17 (AD) Govt has lost over Rs. 145 billion due to the controversial bond issue, MP Bandula Gunawardena pointed out while speaking at a press conference. He stressed the Govt would not be able to cover up this lose even it intended to raise Rs 100 billion through the increase in VAT. “The Finance minister earlier vowed to strengthen rupee to 130 within a week. Yet it still remains at 148,” he added. more..

Salley complains too many committees spoiling restart of KKS cement plant

May 17 (Island) A top Industry and Commerce Ministry official alleges that unnecessary government interference would only delay the re-commencement of the Kankesanthurai Cement Plant, a project which would provide direct and indirect employment to over five thousand persons. "Adding to this delay, The TNA is creating unnecessary issues by making demands from the govt, one being that it be given the authority to select the investors for this project," more..

First green university in South Asia to open at Pitipana in September

May 17 (Island) The first ever green university in South Asia will be constructed in a 26 acre land at Pitipana, Homagama at a cost of Rs. 10.2 billion. Rs. 8.1 billion had been obtained from the Bank of Ceylon as a loan. Following discussions with Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe the bank had agreed to reduce the interest payable by .05 per cent thus saving Rs. 372 million for the NSBM (National School of Business Management), a ministry official said. more..

Sri Lanka agrees to provide land to India for Sita temple

May 17 (TOI) Madhya Pradesh govt will soon start the construction of a grand temple of Sita, wife of Lord Rama, in Sri Lanka at the place where she underwent agni pariksha (an ordeal of fire). The island nation has agreed to provide a piece of land for the purpose. An ambitious project of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, it has been hanging fire for the last five years. In the past, Chouhan himself had visited the places in Sri Lanka more..

Helicopter to rescue trapped people in Thabbowa

May 17 (DM) Rescue teams of the Air Force and Navy had been deployed to Thabbowa, Puttalam to rescue civilians trapped on a block of land due to floods following the torrential rains, Navy Spokesman Captain Akram Alavi said. “The SLN had sent a team of rescue operation to the area yesterday itself but it is reported that the situation is getting worse,” he said. Subsequently, an Mi-17 helicopter was deployed by Air Force to rescue the civilians and bring them to places of safety. more..

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar holds talks with Maithripala and Mahinda

May 17 (CG) Humanitarian, spiritual leader, ambassador of peace and the founder of the Art of Living Foundation, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, had talks with President Sirisena and former President Rajapaksa today. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who is on a visit to Sri Lanka, also met several other politicians in Colombo. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar arrived on an invitation extended by Deputy Minister Anoma Gamage. The spiritual guru was in Sri Lanka to declare open Seetha Eliya Amman Temple more..

Deported SL asylum seeker to sue Australia

May 17 (ABC) A human rights and refugee lawyer in Sri Lanka has accused Australia of breaching international obligations over the recent return of a group of asylum seekers who reached the Cocos Islands. Lakshan Dias is representing some of the 12 men, women and children who reached the Cocos-Keeling Islands in early May and were subsequently flown back to Colombo. Two from the group are in remand more..

Lake Drive Rajagiriya submerged

May 17 (CT) Those living in the residential area of Lake Drive in Rajagiriya have been subjected to severe inconvenience and damage to their homes and belongings due to flooding of the canal caused by the recent heavy rain. Canal that runs adjacent to Lake Drive has been totally neglected by the authorities. The garbage from the lake that flows into the canal accumulates and causes a bad stench as well as a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Due to negligence by authorities to dredge & clean, more..

Demand for forensic accounting on the rise

May 17 (EN) The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) said it had launched a certificate course in forensic accounting to meet increasing demand for the skills amid a rising incidence of fraud in the island. The course was launched “to inculcate chartered accountants with important knowledge and skills in this specialised field in a fresh effort aimed at combating increasing fraud in the country,” it said in a statement. President of CA Sri Lanka more..

Sri Lanka dedicated to achieve SDG: Susil

May 17 (AD) Sri Lanka’s telecommunication sector is one of the most vibrant in South and South East Asia, mobile and wireless Broadband has reached 100% average in the 65,000 sq. km geographic territory of the country, Minister Susil Premajayantha says. The Minister made the observation at the 18th Annual Session of the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) held in Geneva, more..

Met. Dept. handicapped without technology

May 17 (DM) The Meteorology Department is handicapped without the latest digital technology for weather forecast resulting in the inability to mitigate disasters such as the one currently being faced by the country. This transpired at a news conference held in the parliamentary complex with the participation of Disaster Management Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and key officials of the Met. Department. He said the heavy rains were forecast as early as May 10. more..

Niluka earns Rio ticket

May 17 (CT) Sri Lanka's premier badminton player Niluka Karunaratne is certain of participating at the Rio Olympic Games according to the Tripartite Commission of the Badminton World Federation (BWF). According to the BWF, 172 players have qualified for the Olympic Games while six players including three men and three women will receive the Tripartite Commission invitation to qualify for this event. So far, a total of 166 players have already qualified based on their rankings and more..

Jaffna university students to commemorate massacre of Tamils

May 17 (CG) Jaffna university students are to commemorate the massacre of Tamils in 2009 at a ceremony to be staged outside the university tomorrow. Jaffna university student’s union has invited the public to attend the ceremony tomorrow morning. In a public notice, the student’s union says the death of hundreds of Tamils during the final stages of the war in 2009 was the biggest massacre of a single community. more..

Two days needed to resume Thambuttegama-Thalawa train services

May 17 (AM) Two days could be required to restore train services between Thambuttegama and Thalawa in the Northern Line, the Anuradgapura CGR said. The rail track has been inundated due to floods between the two stations and a section of the track has washed away. Trains will run between Fort and Thambuttegama and from the north down to Thalawa, authorities said. A bus service will be utilized to transport commuters between the stations. more..

Speaker refuses to allow Gammanpila to raise question on MR’s security

May 17 (CG) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya today refused to allow opposition MP Udaya Gammanpila to raise a question on the removal of the security of former President Rajapaksa. Gammanpila raised a question from Minister Sagala Ratnayake in Parliament over crime related matters and the number of policemen required to be on duty to deal with the law and order related incidents. Ratnayake responded to the question and said that the number of policemen required to deal with an incident more..

SriLankan to cut staff to look pretty for a business partner

May 17 (DM) National carrier is gearing up to shed some weight by way of a human resource restructuring programme to ensure the “bride is ready” for a prospective match, according to the debt-laden airline’s chairman. Admitting the enterprise is overstaffed, SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ajith Dias affirmed that employee downsizing is definitely on the cards, a move if carried out successfully, would help cut down more..

Lest we Ffrget: Today is victory day

May 18 (FT) Seven years ago to this day, guns in the north fell silent. LTTE terrorists who had ravaged the country for 26 years were defeated by members of this country’s armed forces and police. Over 25,000 members of Sri Lanka’s armed forces and police made the supreme sacrifice during this period, besides the many thousands who suffered serious injuries impacting the rest of their lives. Commencing 2010, 18 May was designated Victory Day by the govt of the day and more..

Sri Lanka’s Indo-Tamil problem

May 18 (CT) There is now an air of cautious optimism on the ethnic front because it seems that the Government and the TNA are at last moving towards a political solution. I will take this seriously only if the envisaged solution has the backing of India. My reason for saying this is that I have held for some time that Sri Lanka does not have a purely indigenous Tamil ethnic problem. There will be no such problem if not for the India factor, by which I mean this: No govt in Delhi can more..

'DNF an effective Opposition in Parliament'

May 18 (CT) Former UPFA MP, and spokesman of the new coalition party Democratic Tamil National Front (DNF), Prabha Ganesan said, there is no proper opposition representing the current Parliament thus his coalition party consisting North-East, Up country and Southern Tamil parties will fulfil the role of an Opposition by taking up issues of minorities and raising voices on behalf of them. more..

Towards destabilization of good governance

May 18 (SL) Vinasha Trirodha, President of the Destroy Good Governance Movement (DGGM) was holding the delayed annual review meeting at the party headquarters with his Secretary Pandang Silva. Vinasha: We spent quite a lot of time and effort to save the former school uniform distribution scheme and wrecking this new scheme of giving money instead of cloth to purchase cloth. What has happened? I see school boys and school girls in full white uniforms going peacefully to school. more..

From the ridiculous to what?

May 18 (SL) A popular expression talks about going from the sublime to the ridiculous. However, no one has suggested where you go after you’ve reached the latter destination. This is something that needs urgent attention by students of the English language in Sri Lanka. I have, more times than I care to remember, sought to draw attention to the rent seekers, insurance buyers and similar political creatures who seem determined to destroy what is left of the fabric of this country, more..

Cracking the Panama trove

May 18 (SO) The Exchange Control Unit of the Ministry of Finance together with the Central Bank have commenced investigations into SL nationals named in the Panama Papers, a comprehensive probe by ICIJ on offshore accounts held by companies and individuals. A top Finance Ministry source confirmed that letters have been sent to those named in Panama Papers, requesting full disclosure of their financial status. more..

Secret behind Mahinda’s Uganda invitation

May 18 (CT) Mangala Samaraweera had written a letter to Mahinda Rajapaksa last weekend. In this open letter he had mentioned that war crimes had taken place during the war. While Mangala was accusing Mahinda of war crimes, Mahinda completed his visit to Uganda and returned. Mahinda went to Uganda to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni. There was an element of excitement at this function when President of Sudan more..

Trolling Joint Opposition

May 18 (DN) Media Ministry Secretary Nimal Bopage ran into a storm recently when he sent out a press communiqué cautioning the media over the term Joint Opposition. Even the highest echelons of the political sphere were perturbed over Bopage’s press conference as they thought the move would boomerang on the govt, in some way or another. However, Bopage’s press communiqué – intentionally or not - was a manifestation of the ruling coalition’s political concerns. more..

Vijith Vijithamuni Soysa

Energy self-sufficiency from renewable sources

May 18 (CT) Similarly, it is time ripe now for the new government to think afresh and take bold steps in development of renewable power by rapid development of renewable energy sources by inviting the world leaders in biomass and renewable power development elsewhere to assist us as former President J.R. Jayewardene did with the Accelerated Mahaweli Development Plan by taking bold and pragmatic steps. If this second UNP Govt dares to take bolder steps, renewable energy more..

Sri Lankan rupee forwards end weaker; IMF loan to help stabilise currency: FM

May 18 (Reuters) Sri Lankan rupee forwards ended weaker on Tuesday on dollar demand from importers, but the currency was expected to stabilise in June after money from an IMF loan flows in, the country's finance minister said. Dealers also said pressure on the local currency was likely to ease on expected fund inflows following the loan deal with the International Monetary Fund and on a plan to raise $1.5 billion through the sale of a 10-year sovereign bond. more..