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Judiciary under pressure from Maithri; Judge releases Army intelligence officer

Oct 14 (CT) With undue pressure from President Sirisena, an Army Intelligence Officer who was identified as the culprit behind the assault of former editor of Rivira Newspaper, Upali Tennakoon and his wife was released on bail today. Gampaha Magistrate Kaweendra Nanayakkara ordered Army Intelligence Officer Premananda Udalagama to be released on a cash bail of Rs. 25,000 and three sureties of Rs. 500,000. The decision comes just days after President Sirisena launched more..

PM Modi’s Ravana terrorism comment draws ire in Sri Lanka

Oct 14 (PTI) PM Narendra Modi’s comment that Ravana was the new form of terrorism has drawn fire from Ravana followers in Sri Lanka. PM Modi had linked Ravana with terrorism and said that “the first person to fight terror was neither a soldier nor a politician, but mythological bird Jatayu who fought against Ravana to protect a helpless Sita, whom he was trying to kidnap”. “We condemn the statement made by the Indian PM equalling King Ravana to a terrorist,” more..

Killing of three protesters in Rathupaswala ruled as a crime

Oct 14 (DM) The killing of three youth in the Weliveriya town in 2013 during a protest campaign demanding drinking water for Rathupaswala, was today declared as an act of crime by Gampaha Chief Magistrate Ms Kavindya Nanayakkara. Of the three victims, Shamly Ravishan Perera and Don Akila Dinesh had died of gunshot injuries on their heads while Nilantha Pushpakumara had died of injuries caused more..

Charge sheet served on Namal Rajapaksa in contempt of court case

Oct 14 (AM) The charge sheets were served on UPFA MP Namal Rajapaksa in the contempt of court case filed by the Bribery Commission in the Supreme Court. Case is considered before a three member bench comprising of Chief Justice K. Sripavan and Justices Priyasath Dep and Buwaneka Aluvihare. Director General of CIABOC filed the case at the Supreme Court against UPFA MP Namal Rajapaksa on June 30. Commission has informed court that Rajapaksa had repeatedly more..

Intimidation won’t change GMOA stand on ETCA

Oct 14 (Island) GMOA said it would not change its stance on the controversial Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) despite intimidatory tactics adopted by the govt. GMOA Secretary Dr Naveen de Zoysa warned that even though the armed conflict had ended, the effort by foreign powers to rob the country’s economy had not ended. The govt was looking for ways and means of cornering GMOA President Dr Anuruddha Padeniya owing to his union’s opposition to ETCA more..

Popular schools not to be offered through grade 5 scholarship in future

Oct 14 (AM) Education Ministry has planned to hold Grade 5 scholarship exam only to provide scholarships and no popular school preferences, Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said. Minister has already taken necessary steps to initiate this program. This decision was taken as parents have made the exam such a competition that children have to suffer, he further stated. more..

Cardinal leads protest against dumping garbage in Ja-Ela

Oct 14 (Island) Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith has once again led an outcry against transferring of Colombo garbage to Ja-Ela. In a joint communiqué addressed to President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe, Cardinal Ranjith has drawn their attention to the fact that the land that has been proposed by the Colombo Municipal Council for dumping its garbage at Ja-Ela is in a thickly populated area surrounded by streams and rivers flowing into the Negombo lagoon. more..

PM congratulates new UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

Oct 14 (GDI) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe today extended warm congratulations to Antonio Guterres on his appointment as the next Secretary-General of the UN. “I am confident that with your extensive experience as both the Prime Minister of Portugal and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees you will lead the United Nations on a path that will ensure a peaceful and prosperous future for our world,” the PM said. His full text of his message is reproduced below:  more..

Siva Senai in Sri Lanka gets Shiv Sena support, Colombo worried

Oct 14 (N18) Shiv Sena in Mumbai has extended its support to a new Sri Lankan Tamil outfit called Siva Senai, triggering concerns among the mainstream politicians in SL that sectarian outfits will reopen wounds of a 20-year-old civil war that ended only in 2009. Siva Senai, based out of Vavuniya, is led by M Sachithananthan. Party takes its name from Lord Shiva and plans to fight coercive conversion from from Hinduism to Buddhism, more..

Sri Lankan shares fall for 5th day

Oct 14 (Reuters) Shares closed lower for a fifth straight session on Friday, led by conglomerate John Keells, as investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of corporate results and seeking cues on the economy from the federal budget next month. CSE ended 0.07% weaker at 6,482.54, its lowest close since Sept. 26. It shed 1.5% on the week. "We believe the index will fall further before the budget. Still, there is uncertainty about taxes (in the budget)," a stockbroker said. more..

Remanded Peradeniya u'grads granted bail

Oct 14 (Island) 12 students of Allied Health Sciences Faculty of the Peradeniya University, remanded in connection with an assault on some students of the same faculty during a clash between two groups, were allowed surety bail of Rs. 100,000 by Kandy Chief Magistrate yesterday. The suspects were wanted by police following complaints of an attack on a group of students on Aug 22. While recording the bail order, Chief Magistrate issued a warning to the officials of the university present more..

2nd Test: West Indies 'A' beat Sri Lanka 'A'

Oct 14 (CI) Vishaul Singh, the left-hand batsman, struck a career-best 161, and Rahkeem Cornwall, the offspinner, took his fourth five-wicket haul in as many matches to lead West Indies A's 333-run rout of Sri Lanka A in the second four-day game at the Pallekele International Stadium. With the win, West Indies levelled the three-match series. After West Indies were inserted by Dimuth Karunaratne, the home team captain, more..

Video: Seize Perpetual Treasury profit: JHU

Oct 14 (DM) JHU yesterday requested Central Bank (CB) to seize the excessive profit of Rs. 5.1 billion earned by Perpetual Treasuries Limited as of March, 2016. JHU National Organiser Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe said the CB Bond Sale scam, through which the Perpetual Treasuries allegedly earned the massive profit, was the biggest heist under the Yahapalanaya Administration. “The incident is a black mark for Yahapalanaya. Entire country knows who the culprits of this infamous scam are. more..

President condoles on the demise of the King of Thailand

Oct 14 (PMD) President Sirisena expressing his deepest sorrow on the demise of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, said late monarch will be remembered for his untiring, selfless service to Thailand and its people. "The visionary concept of the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy of His Majesty has been the key to alleviate poverty, culminating in the Kingdom of Thailand becoming a respected member of the world community," President said in a message of condolences addressed to PM of Thailand. more..

FR challenging Northern Province Housing project dismissed

Oct 14 (DN) Supreme Court today refused to grant leave to proceed with a Fundamental Rights petition challenging the construction of 65,000 houses in a project initiated by Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs in the Northern Province. A Supreme Court two-judge-bench comprising CJ K. Sripavan and Justice Upali Abeyratne made the order, observing that there is no legal basis more..

Met. Dept. sticks to its prediction of rain

Oct 14 (Island) The Meteorology Department yesterday reiterated that the dry weather conditions in 20 districts would end today (14). National Early Warning and Meteorological Centre (24 hrs.) Meteorologist in Charge A.R. Warnasooriya said that the Met Department did not consider the prevailing weather condition a drought. She said there would be rains in the afternoons and evenings over the next two months breaking the dry spell that had gripped the country. more..

Prisons to get CCTV cameras end of this year

Oct 14 (DM) Prisons Department is planning to install CCTV camera systems by the end of this year, Spokesperson Thushara Upuldeniya said. “As an initial stage, the department is hoping to install CCTV cameras in prison in the Western Province,” he said. The department plans to install camera systems in other prisons over the next few years, he said. “We have sufficient funds to fulfill this project and there is no intention to cancel the project despite rumours to that effect,” he said. more..

Civil activists express shock and disappointment over President's statement

Oct 14 (DM) Movement for a Just Society and the Purawasi y2/yy Movement that toiled for the victory of President Maithripala Sirisena today condemned and expressed their displeasure over the recent statement of the President regarding the CID, FCID and the Bribery Commission. Calling a media conference at 11 am in Colombo, the civil society movements had boycotted a meeting scheduled to be held with President at noon more..

A secret missive from the palace sparks off speculation

Oct 14 (DM) A rumour doing the rounds in political circles says that a senior member of the yahapalanaya top team had visited a temple in Narahenpita for the specific purpose of delivering a secret missive from the palace. The missive from the palace was intended to convey a message to the former strongman.  The top team member hand-picked for this errand is a politico hailing from a gem-rich area who had been steadfast in the view that the two warring factions of more..

Former Warakapola PC chairman pleads guilty to corruption charges

Oct 14 (DN) Former Warakapola Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman and SLFP Chief Organizer to Dedigama electorate, informed Colombo Chief Magistrate he was willing to plead guilty in four corruption cases filed by Bribery Commission, for alleged failure to declare assets and liabilities. The CIABOC had filed four corruption cases in the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court against former PS chairman Chandana Wijetunga over non-declaration of assets and liabilities for a period of four years. more..

Video: Alleged suicide note: Rtd. Army officer claims he killed Lasantha

Oct 14 (DM) A 52-year-old retired sergeant major attached to the Intelligence Unit of the Army had allegedly committed suicide after writing a letter claiming that he had assassinated Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, Sgt. Major Ilandarage Jayamanne, was a resident of Dehipitiya Road at Karandupana in Kegalle. The letter had been titled To whom it may concern, according to the Kegalle Police. more..

Editorial: Will the govt fall?

Oct 15 (Island) The political marriage between the UNP and the SLFP is on the rocks. It is popularly said in this country that even the shadow of a doomed marriage is crooked. A few moons ago, it almost broke up owing to a dispute over the appointment of the Central Bank Governor, but the two parties had to sink their differences thanks to the intervention of several influential architects of the present regime. However, this time around, the situation has taken a turn for the worse more..

Sri Lanka’s Small Cats in big trouble

Oct 15 (DN) Big cats: beautiful, majestic, powerful - the seven species whose photographs have adorned most of our walls growing up. One of them is endemic to Sri Lanka, and even now, drives hordes of people to Yala or Wilpattu every weekend. They are a species that is as much a part of cultural imagination as our ancient civilisations. But this talk is not about the Sri Lankan leopard. It’s about their smaller, but no less important cousins. Lurking in the shadow of big cats like the leopard, more..

Mired in poverty

Oct 15 (CT) Poverty in the country is seemingly on the increase, based on the latest survey conducted by the Census and Statistics Department (CSD), which showed 15 of the country's 25 districts (two third) were caught up in the poverty trap. When this reporter asked sources from CSD's Sample Survey Division (SSD) whether the present trend showed an increase in poverty levels vis-à-vis ultimate poverty percentages, sources said more..

Strengthening RTI law: Some suggestions

Oct 15 (GV) This short piece is a reflection on the recently adopted Right to Information Act. Certain aspects of the Act give rise to questions regarding its enforcement. These questions arise primarily in relation to the appointment of the RTI Commission; the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal in determining appeals from the Commission; and the functions of the Commission. There is no doubt about the fact that the express inclusion of the right of access to information (Art 14A) in our Constitution more..

MR’s hunt for minority support

Oct 15 (DM) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has embarked on a mission to win over the minority communities since lately, apparently as a part of his effort to form a new political party. He last week convened a meeting of his Muslim loyalists at his office and also talked to the Tamil journalists separately. During the meeting with his Muslim friends he had said that it was due to the lack of support by the Muslims he had lost the last Presidential election. more..

When the Courts are silent

Oct 15 (FT) The injunction order handed down against the public screening of Prasanna Vithanage’s latest movie Silence in the Courts has opened up space to question the function of justice in SL.  The movie is based on a true story about a magistrate suspected of sexually abusing a woman as a favour for releasing her husband from remand custody. With the injunction order, there has been increased publicity about this issue more..

Selfie mania reveals a darker side of society

Oct 15 (DM) The newly emerged selfie culture has created havoc and tragedy in the lives of many. A Selfie allows the photographer to capture himself and his friends (in group selfies), thereby preventing the photographer being left out. Hence naturally, selfies have become popular worldwide but the downside has been the overuse and misuse of selfies.  Recently, two Sri Lankan girls in Oman fell to their deaths after allegedly trying to take selfies near a spring. more..

Rs. 2.5 mn for Katina Pinkama!

Oct 15 (Island) An elderly woman who is a devout dayika of her village temple came to me, as usual, for a donation to the Katina Pinkama. I obliged, and casually asked how much the pinkama would cost. She said it was Rs. 2.5 mn as if it were a very negligible amount. Probably sensing my surprise, she quickly added that all the temple buildings were painted every year with the best paint, but mentioned nothing about other expenses. She thanked me and went off. more..


Should we put a price-tag on nature?: Shifting from values to value

Oct 15 (DN) Would we care more if there was a price attached to it? Conventional logic dictates that people assign more value to things when they need to pay for it. And it is this very logic that scientists and the government now plan to use this to save our dwindling forest resources. On Oct 18, the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment, together with the Sri Lanka UN-REDD Programme and Forest Department, will for the first time in Sri Lanka organise more..

Arrival of true peace envoys in Jaffna

Oct 15 (CT) It was twenty-nine years ago in 1987 in the early part of October the Jaffna Peninsula was in a thoroughly disoriented state owing to the unfortunate developments which were unfolding rapidly creating a hostile atmosphere between the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) and the LTTE. On 9 October, the IPKF troops first stepped out of the Security Forces Headquarters in Palaly on its surgical operation in Tellippalai area to get rid of the LTTE's offices and small camps. more..

Aiyo, Dahaman – Nightclubs Beware!

Oct 15 (Island) When I met Vaartaratne he was really puzzled. I asked him what the problem was, "It’s just one word that no one is ready to talk about." "What’s this word of puzzling silence?" "I just want to know the meaning of Daham. The silence all around is so shocking. I don’t understand it.’ "Well, I can put you at ease – Daham usually means merit, coming from Dahama It can also mean doctrine or law. more..

Expanded UNIDO support for industrial sector

Oct 15 (FT) The UN Industrial Development Organsiation (UNIDO) is planning larger intervention in Sri Lanka’s industry sector with development plans in the areas of climate change, chemical and waste management, leather processing and industrial parks, a statement from the Industry and Commerce Minister said yesterday.  “In the next country policy for Sri Lanka, UNIDO is keen to build a more comprehensive industry support level,” said UNIDO Representative more..

Pain killers can kill: Paracetamol over-use biggest threat

Oct 15 (SO) Sujaya's first reaction when her monthly pre-menstrual cramps became unbearable, was to reach out for her pain killers. Her most frequently used painkiller was Paracetamol, which was always available in her medicine cupboard , and regularly replenished no sooner the stock ran dry. It was also the easiest and most convenient over the counter drug which she could purchase in bulk form without even a doctor's prescription.So dependent did she become on this painkiller, more..

Today is Vap full moon poya day: Futility of Abhi-dhamma in the Path of Emancipation

Oct 15 (DM) Buddha said, “Do not accept any doctrine from reverence, but first try it as gold is tried by fire.” Pristine Dhamma defaced by fairy-tale writers, scholars for academic purposes and analysts for self-glorification.  Are we to believe the toddler, Prince Siddhartha, no sooner he was born in to this world not only walked seven steps on lotuses, but voiced a canto? Certainly not, we know it is an improbability. more..

President on probes: A message with wide political impact

Oct 15 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena’s strongly worded criticism of what could possibly be political interests in the current battle against corruption, and the alleged involvement of key persons of the former administration in these matters, has certainly raised important issues on the progress of the anti-corruption policies of this govt, which were at the core of the pledges made to the people in the run up to the Silent Revolution of January 8, 2015. more..

Colombo Financial City to fill Singapore-Dubai vacuum for offshore services

Oct 15 (Island) Financial City being built in Colombo with Chinese assistance would fill the vacuum for offshore financial services between Singapore and Dubai, says PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. Delivering an address on Sri Lanka and its place in the world, under the auspices of the Asia-New Zealand Foundation at the Parliament complex in Wellington last week, the Prime Minister said that Sri Lanka's location in the heart of the Indian Ocean straddling Western and Eastern Asia had made it more..

Dilshan, Poornima break long-standing records

Oct 15 (Island) Lasith Ranasinghe of Bandaranaike College, Gampaha and Poornima Gunaratne of Leeds International School, Panadura shattered two long-standing records to light up day two of the All Island Schools Games athletics championship at Bogambara. In the Under-19 girls’ high jump, Gunaratne shattered Tharanga Vinodani’s 2002 record of 1.70 metres which had only being equaled during last 14 years. more..

SL face Chinese Taipei in opening match

Oct 15 (Island) Sri Lanka Sevens outfit will look to finish on top of their group (B) when the Asia Rugby Sevens Series third leg kicks off at Race Course International Rugby Stadium today. Sri Lanka led by dynamic centre Danushka Ranjan will face Chinese Taipei in their first match which is set to be kicked off at 1.10 p.m. local time. Chinese Taipei are probably the weakest side in the group should be an easy game for the Tuskers, but they will have to avoid any upset if they are to top the group. more..