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Releasing info on bond issues tantamount to endangering SL’s economy: CB

May 20 (ST) Central Bank (CB), despite pressure mounting on allegation of insider trading in Treasury bonds, has refused to release information on recent bond issues as it is bound by secrecy provisions. The request for access to information under the Constitution and the proposed Right to Information (RTI) bill was made by good governance activist Chandra Jayaratne. He had said in a April 19 letter to the Monetary Board that the CB is bound to provide details of several bond issues more..

Rs 113 M bust up on H’tota port opening: PRECIFAC summons Priyath Wickrema

May 20 (CT) Former Chairman of the SLPA Dr. Priyath Bandu Wickrema has been summoned to appear before the Special Presidential Commission of inquiry today, for questioning in connection with an alleged misuse of State funds with an unauthorized expense of Rs 113 million on a function held to mark the opening of the Hambantota Harbour Port in 2013. A spokesman for the Commission said that Police investigations have revealed that the former Chairman of SLPA more..

Japan grants Rs 2.2bn to establish research facility for Jaffna University

May 20 (LBO) The Govt of Japan grants JPY 1,667 million (Rs. 2.2 billion) to Sri Lanka for the Establishment of a Research and Training Complex at the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Jaffna in Kilinochchi District. The objective of this project is to provide effective and efficient research and education activities on dry zone agriculture in the northern region at the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Jaffna. more..

Commonwealth chief expresses concern for victims of landslides in Sri Lanka

May 20 (CG) Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland today expressed her profound concern for the victims of landslides in Sri Lanka, following torrential rain. More than 200 people are reportedly unaccounted for, several bodies have been found, and thousands have been displaced, following mudslides in the country’s central Kegalle district. “Our thoughts are with all those in Sri Lanka who have been affected by the devastating landslides caused by heavy rainfall. more..

Modi condoles with Sri Lanka, sends emergency assistance

May 20 (CG) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sent his condolences over the loss of lives due to inclement weather in Sri Lanka and has ordered urgent assistance to be sent to the country. “Deepest condolences and sympathies at loss of lives in Sri Lanka due to inclement weather, the Prime Minister said. He said that India stands resolutely to help the Government and people of Sri Lanka and assistance is being rushed on an emergency basis. more..

Jayalalithaa may push Centre on SL issue

May 20 (TOI) As she manages to retain power in TN, AIADMK chief J Jayalalitha may press the Centre hard on issues related to that of Indian fishermen and Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka. Before polls, Jayalalitha not just demanded that Tamil refugees be given dual citizenship for employment, but also called for a separate Tamil state in Sri Lanka. "To enable Lankan Tamils to live with freedom and to attain a separate Eelam, more..

Thajudeen killing: CID quiz SDIG Senanayake

May 20 (DM) The CID today recorded a statement from Anura Senanayake, a former Senior DIG of the Western Province, in connection with the death of ruggerite Wasim Thajudeen. CID had interrogated him for more than six hours. On April 20, the CID arrested the former OIC Crimes of the Narahenpita Police, IP Sumith Champika on charges of covering up the investigation of the Thajudeen case. CID also recorded a statement from Traffic DIG Amarasiri Senaratne in connection with the case. more..

Australia ready to help Sri Lanka following damaging landslides, floods

May 20 (Bernama) Australia has pledged to provide any assistance it can to the government of Sri Lanka following news that extreme weather had caused flash floods and landslides which have killed at least 58 people and displaced almost half a million more. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on Friday said that Sri Lanka was a close friend to Australia, and that the government would have no hesitation in sending assistance to help with the clean-up or to help resettle those who have lost their homes. more..

GR alleges Jayawickrama has ignored sacrifices made by military

May 20 (Island) Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa emphasized that national reconciliation would never have been a reality if the LTTE had not been defeated. Those who had been blaming the previous administration for alleged accountability issues were either ignorant of the magnitude of the terrorist threat or turned a blind eye to sacrifices made by the military, he said. Nearly 6,000 officers and men died more..

Speaker adjourns parliament early to enable MPs to visit their electorates

May 20 (Island) Parliament sittings adjourned around 12.25 pm yesterday to enable MPs to visit their electorates and participate in the processes of providing relief to the people affected by disasters. The decision was taken with the consent of both govt and opposition MPs. Minister Ravi Karunanayake requested from the Chair to expedite the items listed on the order paper for the day so that sessions could be over earlier enabling MPs to visit areas affected by flood and landslides. more..

Docs hold back trade union action due to country’s predicament

May 20 (Island) Suspending its trade union action in view of natural disasters, the GMOA said it would complain to the Public Service Commission (PSC) against Director (Medical Services) of the Health Ministry over meddling with the post – internship appointment list. GMOA Secretary Dr. Nalinda Herath said the complaint would be handed over to the PSC yesterday evening or today. He said the GMOA representatives had met Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne on Tuesday and more..

CB Governor blasts his critics

May 20 (Island) CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran whose current term of office ends next month went on the offensive against his critics in what can be seen as a bid to be reappointed. As his term of office nears its end, his critics from both sides of the political divide had stepped up their campaign against him, openly calling on President not to reappoint him to that position or at the very least, to have an inquiry into controversial bond issues more..

Aranayake landslide:135 feared dead

May 20 (Island) The death toll from the Aranayake landslide in the Kegalle District could rise to 135. The figure had not been confirmed officially. According to the latest figures issued by the DMC: disaster have left 58 persons dead; 132 are missing. The OIC of Aranayake Police confirmed only 11 deaths from massive landslide and said 135 remained missing. “Search operations are still going on.” The NBRO yesterday declared another 170 landslide prone areas in six districts more..

President, PM pacify people’s pain

May 20 (FT) Addressing a nation beset by catastrophic landslides and floods President Maithripala Srisena yesterday made a special appeal to the private sector to help relief operations countrywide while both he and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe expressed condolences to thousands of families that have been displaced and lost loved ones. Taking the direct route the President also addressed many complaints people have expressed, focusing on the feeling of neglect more..

Over 20,000 trapped in Colombo

May 20 (DN) Tri Forces jointly with Disaster Management Center (DMC) personnel launched a massive operation in Kolonnawa, Wellampitiya and Kelaniya areas to rescue over 20,000 people trapped in major floods to hit the area in 25 years. The number of deaths caused by the inclement weather conditions now stands at 58. The number of missing persons now stands at 15 while 28 persons have been injured. more..

Help flood victims as a Vesak pinkama

May 20 (DM) With weather patterns becoming unpredictable even with the use of hi-tech equipment, Sri Lanka is struggling through one of its worst-ever floods in recent decades. Experts say the extreme weather patterns and their unpredictable nature are largely the consequences of climate change and global warming. Till May 15 Sri Lanka was virtually boiling with temperatures reaching their hottest points in recorded history. But suddenly we were taken from one extreme to another with more..

Comrades then not so now

May 20 (DM) The two most prominent veterans of the war against the LTTE have locked horns over an incident during the war they jointly led. Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, the man who spearheaded the victorious final phase of the war broke ice in this row between him and the former Defence Secretary Goatabaya Rajapaksa. When the Joint Opposition questioned in Parliament about replacing of Army personnel in the former President Rajapaksa’s security detail with the STF, more..

A mis-managed elephant range

May 20 (SL) Amongst the many environmental issues the country faces is the escalating human-elephant conflict with several incidents of death to both humans and elephants being reported from the Hamabantota District in particular in recent times. The Department of Wildlife Conservation’s (DWC) suggested plan The Managed Elephant Range (MER) to protect wild elephants is yet to be implemented though more..

Too many leopards dying in the hills

May 20 (ST) An alarming rise in leopard deaths in upcountry tea plantations has prompted police to begin an awareness campaign to avert deepening leopard-human conflict. On Tuesday, a plantation worker was severely injured when a leopard attacked him, springing out from tea bushes on the Q estate at Bogawantalawa. The move to create safety awareness among tea pluckers came after three tea pluckers fainted on Monday more..

'Need of the hour is unity within the Sasana'

May 20 (DM) A true Buddha puthra with an iron will is Ven. Kirama Wimalajothi Thera. He is an epitome of Lord Buddha’s teaching that the greatest daana ever is Dharma daana. The Buddhist Cultural Centre he initiated in Nedimala as a facilitator to Buddhist literature at a time when publications were scarce in the country personifies this. Setting up the iconic Sri Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi Mandiraya in Thummulla more..

Tragedy on the mountainside

May 20 (FT) The wails of Prema Adikari, 58, mingle with the howls of a small brown dog as they both stare at the muddy remains of a collapsed house on the hill through sheets of rain falling in the area again Thursday morning. A red collar made of twisted string is still fastened to the dog’s neck, a sign that he once belonged to someone in the landslide hit area. Villagers in Pallebage, say the dog has been howling for two days, more..

94 academics urge India not to sign ETCA

May 20 (Island) National University Teachers' Association of Sri Lanka has urged India not to go ahead with the planned signing of Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with Sri Lanka. The following is the full text of a letter sent by Dr. Channa Jayasumana, Secretary, National University Teachers’ Association Sri Lanka to Srimathi Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs, of India: more..

Search resumes in rain for missing in Sri Lankan landslide

May 20 (AP) Hundreds of soldiers resumed the slow and difficult search Friday for hundreds of people missing after landslides swallowed three hillside villages in central SL, a dangerous effort as continuing rain kept the ground unstable and the risk of more mudslides a constant threat. By Friday morning, rescuers had recovered 30 bodies, out of hundreds believed buried on Tuesday when torrents of thick, red mud buried more..

Fresh vote taken on supplementary estimate that caused voting fiasco on May 5

May 20 (Island) A motion was passed in Parliament yesterday to take a fresh vote on the Rs. 55 million supplementary estimate presented by the govt on May 05, which resulted in a voting fiasco. The motion moved by Minister Lakshman Kiriella said: “That this Parliament resolves that having taken into consideration that the Item No.1 of the Notice of Motions and Orders of the Day on the Order Paper of 5th May, more..

No election, but govt putting in place regulations to control media during polls: JO

May 20 (Island) Instead of holding local govt elections, the govt had introduced new gazette notifications to control the media during an election, the Joint Opposition charged. Leader of the JO, MP Dinesh Gunawardena said the govt is planning to pass the gazette notification in Parliament today without giving enough time to MPs to study and analyse it. “The code of ethics for media during an election prepared by more..

FCID quizzes deputy minister over major Ethanol scam

May 20 (DM) FCID quizzed Deputy Minister Lakshman Wasantha Perera over a major Ethanol smuggling ring that also saw the alleged involvement of a former senior minister in the UPFA govt. Deputy Minister who arrived at the FCID office yesterday was questioned for over two hours after which a statement was recorded. According to FCID sources he was quizzed about a stock of 60,000 litres of Ethanol imported into the country more..

'MR bought 43 vehicles without paying taxes'

May 20 (Island) Minister Ravi Karunanayake told Parliament that former President Rajapaksa had imported 43 vehicles during the latter’s tenure as the President without paying taxes. The vehicles purchased during the tenure of former President had not even been properly registered. “It was said the Presidential Secretariat had a fleet of 1,500 vehicles. We after coming to power could find only 220. more..

Editorial: Vote monkey, get monkey

May 20 (Island) Nury, in his column today, informs us that a chimpanzee stood for election in Rio de Janeiro in 1988 with the catchy slogan: Vote monkey, get monkey. In this country you even get the monkeys you don’t vote for thanks to the much-abused National List mechanism! Chimps or even baboons would have been much better than the bunch of representatives we are burdened with. It never rains but it pours as they say. Besides devastating floods, there have been more..

Sri Lankan shares fall to near 2-wk closing low amid foreign outflows

May 20 (Reuters) Shares fell on Friday to a near two-week closing low, led by shares that could be easily affected by the floods, amid foreign selling and ahead of the central bank's policy rate announcement due later in the day. Lion Brewery Plc dropped 3.45%, a day after the company said it had halted production in its main factory in Colombo suburb due to the floods. Investors awaited some cues on the interest rates ahead of the central bank's May monetary policy decision. more..


Did NPC snub Vigneswaran?

May 20 (CT) The Northern Provincial Council (NPC) passed a resolution in April 2016 calling for the introduction of a federal structure in Sri Lanka to accommodate political demands of the Sri Lankan Tamil people. The genesis of the resolution was the proposals called the Report of the Sub-Committee on Finding a Political Solution to the National Question, presented by a group appointed by Chief Minister Wigneswaran. The group, which represented Tamil People’s Council (TPC), more..

Magistrate Thilina Gamage interdicted

May 20 (DM) Judicial Service Commission today interdicted Colombo Additional Magistrate Thilina Gamage after he was named a suspect by the Attorney General over the alleged possession of an elephant without a valid license. Judicial Service Commission informed the Additional Magistrate Gamage regarding his interdiction. CID had informed Additional Magistrate Gamage to appear at the CID following the AG’s instruction. However he had informed the CID through more..

CB governor alleges political ulterior motive in campaign against him

May 20 (Island) Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran’s term of office ends in June this year. There have been calls from opposition politicians as well as good governance activists for the govt to investigate alleged malpractices in the issuance of treasury bonds during his tenure before reappointing him for another term. One of the bond issues was investigated by the COPE but parliament was dissolved just before the day on which more..

Speaker advises MEP Leader to be mindful of words he used in House

May 20 (Island) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday in Parliament advised MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardena not to call his fellow parliamentarians Jokers. When Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake was speaking at the debate yesterday MP Gunawardena repeatedly disturbed the Minister trying to shout him down. The Speaker warned the MP several times, but MP Gunawardena continued to disturb the business of the House while calling the Minister a joker. more..

High Court issues notice on Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka thera

May 20 (Island) Colombo High Court Judge Nissanka Bandula Karunaratne yesterday issued notice on Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera, ordering him to appear before the court on June 20, 2016. The notice is in respect of the indictment filed against the Venerable Thera by the Attorney General on an allegation of Abuse of Public Property. He is accused of having had an unlicensed baby elephant at his temple, the Allan Mathiniyaramaya of Narahenpita, Colombo 5. more..

Audio: Joint opposition slams Harin Fernando for words he used

May 20 (CG) The joint opposition slammed Minister Harin Fernando over some of the words he used in Parliament this week. Opposition member Dinesh Gunawardena said that the words used by Fernando was unparliamentary and should not be repeated in future. Gunawardena said the unparliamentary words were used during a heated exchange between the Minister and former Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage. more..

Tamil civil org accuse govt of setting up office for missing persons hastily

May 20 (CT) Tamil Civil Society organisations and activists have accused the govt on the lack of genuine willingness to consult the victims in the setting up of mechanisms for transitional justice, while also trying to rush through the consultation process in setting up the Office for Missing Persons. In a letter addressed to Minister Mangala Samaraweera, 12 organisations and 26 individuals said that the mandate and terms of reference of the Task Force in setting up more..

Preliminary objections to indictment: Wele Suda’s lawyer raises issue of time bar

May 20 (Island) The Colombo High Court allowed time till July 26 for the AG and the defence counsel to file written submissions, pertaining to the preliminary objections raised against the indictment on Wele Suda and two others. Defence counsel argued that the AG had not taken into consideration the period of the offence when the latter indicted Wele Suda, his wife and sister for trafficking heroin and thereby retaining money up to Rs. 170 million along with property. more..

No truth to rumour that Kelani River water polluted with oil: Hakeem

May 20 (AD) Minister of City Planning and Water Supply Rauff Hakeem says that they would be compelled to completely shut down the Ambatale water treatment plant only if the water level reaches 23 feet but expressed confidence that such a situation would not arise. “Since yesterday we have seen a steady decrease of water level and it has gone down to 19 feet 11 inches by early morning today,” he told Parliament today. more..

Pakistan condoles with Sri Lanka over flood deaths, devastations

May 20 (Samaa) Pakistan on Friday extended condolences to Sri Lanka after the devastating floods and heavy rainfall killed more than 200 people and left thousands of others homeless in the island nation. “Pakistan offers condolences to the Govt and people of Sri Lanka over the loss of more than 200 precious lives and the displacement of more than 400,000 people due to the devastating floods and the record rainfall in Sri Lanka,” a statement by the Foreign Office said. more..