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CM offers to apologize, maintains reaction as strong but justifiable

May 29 (Island) Eastern Province Chief Minister Naseer Ahamed has written to both the president and PM offering his version of last week’s incident at Sampur concluding his letter by expressing willingness to express unequivocal regret and apologies to all concerned for my strong but justifiable reaction. He condemned as political the decision taken by the three forces to boycott functions he attends even before more..

Failed and failing states proliferate

May 29 (Island) The promise of good governance (yahapalanaya) has become a stick with which to beat the govt. The Joint Opposition does not miss any opportunity for ridicule; editorials echo. There is truth to the groan that achievement falls short of promise; but it is also true that governance is better than in Rajapaksa times. An executioner’s dagger has given way to imperfect democracy; no more do white vans ply their frightful trade. Pervasive top-down corruption has waned; more..

War Heroes – Killed in Action

May 29 (Island) I am honoured to have been asked by General Gerry de Silva to write a Foreword to this book. I am also very pleased that he undertook the task of setting down the brave exploits of our soldiers. One of the biggest problems this country faces is its failure to remember. Successive govts keep reinventing the wheel, and often in the process make it less rounded than previously. A principal reason for this is the failure to maintain records, or to refer to them. more..

Video: Replace the Minister of Health: GMOA

May 29 (AD) The GMOA on Sunday urged the authorities to replace the Minister of Health with a more amenable politician. The GMOA also suggested that if not the President should take over the Ministry. GMOA Secretary, Dr. Nalinda Herath made the observation while speaking at a press conference. Dr. Herath accused the Health Minister and even his son of misusing their powers by using resources of the Ministry in a bid to more..

AG swamped with over 8000 files

May 29 (SL) Attorney General’s Department is said to be swamped with over 8,000 files which have yet to be looked into. Sources at the AG’s Department said that apart from some 38 files on the former govt, there are 8,000 files related to other cases which need to be looked into. The AG’s Department says it has only around 48 employees who can look into the files and this is not adequate. The details in the file need to looked into very closely and this takes time. more..

Key information surfaces in Thajuden murder

May 29 (SL) Key information is beginning to surface over the murder of former rugby player Wasim Thajudeen following the arrest of former senior DIG Anura Senanayake. Vital information has been unearthed, which links the former DIG to the murder of the rugby player. Prior to his arrest, Anura Senanayake had spoken to senior CID officers and attempted to influence them to prevent his arrest. The CID obtained evidence from several witnesses on Anura Senanayake prior to his arrest. more..

Leaden Mathews leads SL nowhere

May 29 (CI) At Headingley, Angelo Mathews won the toss and bowled. He walked out on the ground in front of his team, between the flag holders, and there was something regal about him. It stood out. It might have been the memory of the last time, it might have been his posture, or his focus, but he looked like a leader. This is a man who plays his best cricket in big game situations, or when his team needs it the most. more..

Citizens Peace Award to the late Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha

May 29 (Island) The National Peace Council of Sri Lanka is awarding its annual Citizens Peace Prize for 2015 posthumously to the Most Venerable Maduluwawe Sobitha Nayake Thero for his fearless approach to minority rights and inter-religious coexistence, and for providing skillful leadership in promoting humane values and democratic governance. At the time of passing away he had become a truly spiritual leader, seeking nothing for himself, but seeking everything for the more..

Video: No decision yet to join politics again: Attanayake

May 29 (AD) A decision has not yet been taken of entering into politics again, former Minister and UNP General Gecretary Tissa Attanayake says. The observation was made while responding to media personnel after an event held in Weligampitiya. Attanayake, who had served as the General Secretary of UNP for a long period, crossed over to the then Government and pledged support to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the last Presidential Election. more..

JVP to protest this week

May 29 (SL) The JVP is to stage a protest against the govt this week. General Secretary of the JVP, Tilvin Silva criticized the govt’s decision to impose taxes on the people which he said was unfair. The govt had increased the unit rate tax on motor cars and three wheelers from midnight on Thursday. As a result prices of cars above 1000cc engine capacity and three-wheelers will increase. He said that previously the govt increased the VAT more..

More facilities for MPs in development work

May 29 (SO) Minister Gayantha Karunatilake said the Govt will provide a vehicle and other required facilities to MPs involved in development activities. "Even during the tenure of the former govt, then Minister Basil Rajapaksa provided a vehicle to each UPFA MP who helped to carry out development work", Minister said. In the future, backbenchers in the Govt will play a lead role to carry out the Govt's development drive. They will be provided with an office and all other required facilities. more..

Pedestrian killed: CCTV footage leads to arrest of hit-and-run three-wheeler driver

May 29 (ST) Closed-circuit TV recordings obtained from a shop helped detectives to track down a three-wheeler driver responsible for the death of a pedestrian, it was revealed during a coroner’s court inquiry. The footage showed the man was thrown to the side of the road when a speeding three-wheeler struck him down at 9.30 p.m. in Mulleriyawa town on Monday. The injured man was lying on the ground unnoticed by passers by for nearly two hours until the driver of an ambulance more..

US expert: People should be relocated from disaster-prone areas

May 29 (SO) In the aftermath of the two tragic landslides in Sri Lanka, which buried nearly 200 alive, a visiting US expert on disaster mitigation said the Govt will have to take tough decisions in the future to ensure the safety of the people and prevent such calamities from recurring. South Asia Regional Advisor for Disaster Risk Reduction from the Office of the Foreign Disaster Assistance of the USAID Michael J. Ernst more..

PM reveals facts behind a polio-free SL

May 29 (AD) The PM has praised the service of the Rotarians, UNICEF, and Red Cross in its effort to create a polio-free Sri Lanka. He made the observation while addressing the 107th Rotary International Convention along with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Full Speech: Thank you for inviting me here to Seoul, to help inaugurate the 2016 Rotary International Convention. It is an honour to be here, and a great source of pride to us in Sri Lanka that you have chosen someone more..

Flight attendants threaten industrial action

May 29 (SL) The Flight Attendants Union of SriLankan Airlines is to resort to industrial action in the days to come in the event the airline management fails to accept their legitimacy, SriLankan Airline sources said. The present Flight Attendance Union (FAU), which took over office unanimously last year, had been deprived of their legal rights by the Management by refusing to accept them claiming that they had not been elected through a ballot but unanimously. more..

'Alert for landslide risk if rains continue'

May 29 (DM) The National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) today said if the prevailing weather condition continues, people living near the mountainous areas in Ratnapura, Nuwara Eliya, Kegalle and Kalutara districts to be vigilant on the possible landslides risks. The NBRO identified Kiriella, Ayagama, Eheliyagoda, Ratnapura, Kuruwita, Ambagamuwakorale, Deraniyagala, Dehiowita, Ruwanwella, Yatiyanthota, more..

Fire at BIA

May 29 (ST) A fire broke out at the power backup room in the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) yesterday, a duty manager said. He said the fire was brought under control within 10 minutes and services at the airport continued uninterrupted. The cause of the fire was believed to be a short-circuit in the electrical system, but investigations are underway to ascertain the cause. The fire was put out by the Airport and Aviation Service’s fire fighting unit. more..

Minister draws World Health Assembly’s attention to natural disaster in Sri Lanka

May 29 (Island) Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne last week drew the attention of the 69th World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting in Geneva to the recent floods and landslides in Sri Lanka that affected nearly half a million people and appreciated the expression of solidarity and support by countries, partners and the World Health Organization (WHO), to strengthen the timely health response to the affected people. Addressing the Assembly under this years’ theme, more..

Work resumes on new Kachchativu church as weather clears

May 29 (ST) Reconstruction of the new church in Kachchativu with the support of SL Navy, which was suspended recently, has recommenced. The Navy said in a statement issued this week that construction work had been temporarily suspended due to the inclement weather and, with the improvement in the weather, the Navy had dispatched a craft with the necessary building material and water to the island more..

SAARC Film Festival to be screened in Colombo from June 1-6

May 29 (Island) The South Asian Region for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Film Festival will be screened in Colombo from June 1-6 at the National Film Corporation theatre. The Festival will feature films from Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Colombo event will feature the best talent in the art of film-making in the region. Producers, directors and actors and actresses would portray outstanding talent in acting skills and film direction that more..

Lanka Hospitals deploy relief measures to flood affected employees

May 29 (Island) A special program lending a much needed helping hand to flood-affected staff members of Lanka Hospitals was initiated by Chairman, Dr. Sarath Paranavitane and Board member Dr. Rohan Wijesundera. Staff members who are displaced, directly affected and in need of immediate medical and material attention will be assisted through a relief program under three phases. Lanka Hospitals flood relief teams including doctors and fortified with dry rations, more..

Concern mounts over military's diktat to govt

May 29 (EN) SL's military commanders banning controversial chief minister of the eastern province and announcing a boycott of his events has caused serious anguish in the political establishment. Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi conveyed the military diktat to the media last week as the military's response to CM Naseer Ahamed publicly upbrading a navy officer during a ceremony in Sampur. more..

RW: Govts should cooperate

May 29 (DM) Govts of the world should engage in partnership with the service organisations to explore greater avenues of cooperation, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said in South Korea today. PM was addressing the international Rotary convention in South Korea. He said that service organisations could also act as an oversight body on the function of the govt establishment in their field of expertise. This he said was already happening in India, where a public trust was overseeing more..

Sri Lanka cuts tax on smaller electric cars, Tesla EV prices to soar

May 29 (EN) Sri Lanka has cut taxes on popular mid-sized electric cars from 2.7 million to about 1.7 million rupees and sharply raised levies on luxury larger brands such as Tesla, which are expected to go up steeply in price. The price of the Nissan Leaf, Sri Lanka's most popular electric cars is expected to come down by about a million rupees. However luxury Tesla models are expected to go up steeply under a sharply progressive tax system. Under new tax rates announced this week, more..

Future is dark for unfortunates on the Kelani banks

May 29 (ST) The banks of the Kelani River near Wellampitiya and Kolonnawa are a wasteland with broken houses, children playing in pools of stagnant water, livestock wandering through the muck and heaps of garbage and debris piled up on roadsides. As the floodwaters recede, people gradually returning to their homes – those that remain intact – assessing the damage. Mohammed Fazil, 28, from Wennawatte, Wellampitiya, more..

The work of rotarians & The future

May 30 (CT) The digital age has radically changed the way we communicate and interact with each other. Social media can both complement or replace face-to-face association. It has also extended the community beyond the neighbourhood. But at the same time, social media has its ills. No doubt you have already understood the degree of alienation from social realities in youth – given the diversity, richness and excitement of cyberspace realities; and no doubt you have already taken steps more..

Struggle to free the Tamil political prisoners

May 30 (CT) We are on the brink of a Fascist takeover, I feel. I cannot prove it as one would a scientific hypothesis. Hence it is a collection of feelings based on what one hears, what one sees etc. In particular, I bring as a witness Prof. Sarath Wijesooriya, the successor to Ven. Sobitha whose impressive collection of civil organizations along with the Tamil votes brought about the downfall of the unlamented Rajapaksa regime. In his regular writings to Ravaya, more..

Meethotamulla residents: Reeling from a double whammy

May 30 (SO) The incessant rains that lashed across Colombo and the suburbs since May 14 make the already fragile houses close to the Meethotamulla garbage dump more vulnerable to disasters after floods wreaked havoc for over two weeks. Reeling from a double whammy, residents have no option but to return to their flood-ravaged houses to put up with the unbearable stench emanating from the lofty garbage pile more..

Attracting FDI to Sri Lanka: The need for investment promotion measures

May 30 (IPS) Today almost all countries around the world, in their bid to create jobs and sustain economic growth, compete fiercely to attract foreign investment. In addition to liberalizing trade and investment policies, opening up sectors to foreign investors and undertaking reforms to create a more business friendly environment, countries are also seen to be undertaking proactive investment promotion measures. Investment promotion and facilitation are also considered to more..

Money down the babbling brook by the banks of the Diyawanna

May 30 (ST) It’s the sacred temple where a people’s sovereignty lies enshrined. The supreme edifice of a secular democratic state. The gilded pagoda from whence the people’s power emanates. The fountain from which all legal enactments spring. The podium where national issues are debated discussed and distilled. The law factory and the talking shop, packed into a one stop complex. And, as far as talking shops go these days, it does so admirably. The only problem is that instead of delving more..

'Flood damage escalated due to weak disaster management'

May 30 (SL) Disaster Management mechanism of the present govt is at a weak state and as a result of its failure to heed to previous warnings made by the JVP as to how to act in these situations, the damage has escalated, says JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti. Pointing out that the government should play a more active role in a crisis situation such as this, MP Handunnetti says that in the future a proper mechanism must be set up to more..

A godsend for flood protection

May 30 (CT) Torrential rains have been beating down on Sri Lanka for the last two weeks causing landslides and leaving many areas in and around Colombo inundated with water. Fortunately, the people living in the outer area of the Kelani River, far beyond the river bank, escaped the floods which left many houses and property damaged rendering their inhabitants displaced for more than a week. The saving grace for the greater part of the city of Colombo from the major floods was a bund more..

Messy urbanization since Independence

May 30 (CT) The recent torrential rains (El Nino) wrought havoc and caused one of the worst destructions after the hellish tsunami of 2004. Many leaders and dignitaries the world over sent condolence messages on the deaths and destructions that occurred due to horrific weather conditions. Funds and relief items are still reaching the island nation. Above all, it was overwhelming and highly commendable to see Sri Lankans and NGOs actively taking part in helping more..

A top bureaucrat preventing action against crooks

May 30 (CT) With flood waters receding gradually after affecting more than 300,000 persons, the political arena is once again heating up with allegations mounting against Yahapalana Govt by the factions who supported it into power. Interestingly, the week ended with President, PM and several key ministers including the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Foreign Affairs being away from the country. more..

Schoolchildren’s sports tours to be regularised soon

May 30 (ST) Education Ministry is looking to regularise all foreign tours made by organisations using school children. Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam has advised the new Special Consultant of Sports in the Education Ministry Sunil Jayaweera to look into this matter. He said “There are many spurious foreign tours taking place at the moment, but, at the moment we are not in a position analyse them. There are instances that organisers download applications for more..

Immigration consultant appointed as Tourism Ambassador to Canada: A joke

May 30 (Island) It is the duty of the foreign office, the presidential secretariat and other ministries to stay connected with the embassies and its diplomats to see that the right thing is done and the country’s interest is always protected. However, some ministers and officials contacted the missions only when they wanted personal favours and when they wanted protocol assistance even for personal visits. My experience is that official matters came second. Some blunders they made became difficult more..

Persistent questions over the pumping and dumping of Treasury Bonds

May 30 (Island) Chandra Jayaratne, a Chartered Accountant and former Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce turned public interest activist, has been at the forefront of those demanding an investigation into certain Treasury bond issues made by the govt. In this interview, he discusses why he thinks a full scale investigation is warranted. Q: You had written to the Secretary of Monetary Board asking for more..

An angry call for a selective deluge

May 30 (ST) Exasperated by the peccadilloes of the yahapalanaya (good governance) administration in pulling back on its promises to punish the corrupt in the South and bring justice to those who had suffered in the North, a colleague of mine advocated this week in an angry communication that Colombo’s flood waters should have advanced further than merely retreating at the entrance of the Parliament. ‘If it rained only on Parliament and if the House was in session, this would have solved more..

Editorial: Barmecide feast

May 30 (Island) Pro-govt propagandists have been excessively amped up and hyper about the recent opportunity President Maithripala Sirisena was given to press flesh with the G-7 leaders in Japan. It was no doubt a pleasant sight to see President Sirisena with world leaders exchanging pleasantries. His presence among those heavyweights is being hailed as a major diplomatic victory for Sri Lanka. But, what benefits has accrued to the country from his mingling with G-7 leaders? more..

Sri Lanka’s Agency for Development gets off the ground soon

May 30 (ST) The much-awaited Sri Lanka’s Agency for Development is to be established within the next two months to fast-track, streamline and attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). Development Special Provisions Bill which provides provisions to set up this agency will be presented in parliament soon. This agency has a specific task of attracting more FDIs to the country without delay and all arrangements have been made to more..