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Divi Neguma Fund case: AG indicts Basil

Oct 20 (CT) Colombo High Court decided to hear the case, filed against former Minister Basil Rajapaksa and three others, on 15 March next year. Attorney General (AG) had filed the case charging against the four suspects with having misappropriated a sum of Rs 33 million from the Divi Neguma Development Fund. When the said case was taken for hearing in the High Court yesterday, the suspects currently on bail, Basil Rajapaksa, Nihal Jayathilaka & Bandula Thilakasiri, more..

Boyagoda remanded over albino turtle theft

Oct 20 (Island) Balapitiya Magistrate remanded 3 suspects including former Commodore Ajith Boyagoda accused of stealing an albino turtle from a conservation hatchery at Kosgoda. They were remanded till Nov. 2, 2017. Commodore Boyagoda had been the captain of the Navy vessel Sagarawardhana, which was blown up by LTTE in Sept, 1994 following which they kept him in their custody for eight years. more..

President hits out at critics

Oct 20 (CT) President Sirisena charged that certain sections of the society were unduly criticizing him over his recent remarks concerning the functioning of three institutions. He said that during the last regime, if such criticisms had been made, even before 24 hours had lapsed, those making such criticisms would have been whisked away in white vans and nobody would have known about their whereabouts. He said that those who are claiming they would form a new regime next year, more..

Cancellation of Hyde Park booking: JO demands Rs 500M as compensation

Oct 20 (CT) MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara, who is the General Secretary of the DLF, has sent a letter of demand on behalf of the Joint Opposition, requesting compensation of Rs 500 million from the Municipal Commissioner (MC) of Colombo V.K.A. Anura. In this letter of demand, it has been stated that this compensation should be paid because the permit granted by Municipal Commissioner V.K.A. Anura, for the Hyde Park (Philip Gunawardena Grounds), which had been reserved by more..

Serving people SL style: JO defends MPs’ right to sell duty free car permits

Oct 20 (Island) MPs had the right to sell their duty free permits to raise funds required for political purposes, JO spokesperson Bandula Gunawardena emphasized. He said that the members had the privilege of transferring duty free vehicle permits since JR Jayewardene’s presidency. UPFA MP strongly defended the transfer of vehicle permits on the basis the practice wasn’t against the law. Asked whether it was fair for MPs to transfer more..

From humiliation and exclusion to participation

Oct 20 (DM) This week the world marked the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty – with special significance for Sri Lanka because the National Unity Govt has declared 2017 as the year of poverty alleviation. According to the UN, this year’s theme is, moving from humiliation and exclusion to participation: End poverty in all its forms everywhere. A UN Sustainable Development Goal explicitly recognizes that poverty results not from the lack of just one thing but more..

Modi’s comment on Ravana: No! Ravana was no terrorist as PM Modi says

Oct 20 (DM) It was with a sense of considerable anger that I read PM Modi’s comments on Ravana, the great King of Sri Lanka.  PM Modi seems to be unaware that many activists in India have diametrically opposite views to many men of India who view the Ramayana as a justification for feminine subjugation. They have done this for centuries.  Indian men often name their daughters Sita hoping they will be replicas of the humble and subservient heroine of the Ramayana. more..

Health or Wealth?: Changing tunes on the Glyphosate ban

Oct 20 (DM) The banned chemical Glyphosate made headlines recently as Minister Navin Dissanayake ruffled a few feathers addressing the AGM of the Planters’ Association of Ceylon held last month. He said govt was likely to allow importing 800,000 litres of the banned weed killer Glyphosate essential for tea plantations over the next few months. “I am sure, maybe in two or three months I can have a formula in place” he said. more..

Drought wreaks havoc in Batti as pipe-borne water sucks

Oct 20 (ST) Residents of Batticaloa take pride in calling their town the land of the singing fish but, gripped by one of the worst droughts in recent years, the chorus of thousands of people in the district hit by severe water shortage is far from a melodious one. For the past few weeks, the lives of villagers in areas such as Vavunativu, Eravur and Vakarai revolve around finding water to meet their daily needs. more..

'Breakdown not at Norochcholai, Chinese team helping with repairs'

Oct 20 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's Power and Energy Ministry, said that the recent partial power cuts imposed islandwide was a result of a breakdown in a critical transmission line in the National Grid and not due to a malfunction in the Norochcholai coal power plant. Ministry statement said that a channel used to transfer power had malfunctioned which resulted in an emergency shutdown of Norochcholai Coal Power Plant. more..

'JO alleges govt. betrayed Muslims to appease US'

Oct 20 (Island) Former Parliamentary Affairs Minister A.H.M. Azwer alleged that the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government had abandoned Sri Lanka’s long standing Palestine policy. Azwer said that Sri Lanka had abstained from voting on a recent UNESCO, (UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Resolution meant to condemn Israeli violations in and around the Temple Mount in the occupied Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds. more..

Sri Lanka rejects India’s offer to set up solar power plants at Sampur

Oct 20 (ENS) Sri Lanka has rejected India’s offer to set up solar energy plants at Sampur in Eastern Sri Lanka. The Indian offer had been by PM Narendra Modi when he met SL President Maithripala Sirisena on the sidelines of the BIMSTEC  summit in Goa earlier this month. The Secretary to the Ministry of Power, Suren Batagoda, said that the CEB will execute the solar power project at Sampur, and India will set up more..

Trial begins for four men accused of smuggling 492 Tamils into Canada

Oct 20 (VS) More than six years after a rickety vessel with nearly 500 Sri Lankan Tamils aboard arrived off the coast of B.C., four men charged with human-smuggling saw their trial open Wednesday in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. Lesly Emmanuel, Kunarobinson Christhurajah, Nadarajah Mahendran and Thampeernayagam Rajaratnam have pleaded not guilty to the offence under Immigration & Refugee Protection Act. more..

Dilrukshi Dias resumes duties as Additional Solicitor General

Oct 20 (AD) Former Director General of the CIABOC, Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe who resigned from her post has assumed duties as an Additional Solicitor General. She has assumed duties effect from today. President’s Counsel Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe assumed duties as Director General of Bribery Commission on 12 Feb 2015. She has headed probes into alleged corruption involving more..

Searching Welgama’s garden for bulletproof vehicles immature: President

Oct 20 (DM) President Sirisena said that searching UPFA MP Kumar Welgama’s garden for illegally keeping bulletproof vehicles was an immature act. President said the govt was inconvenienced due to such immature acts. “Whatever people say, I should say that it is an immature act,” he said. President said if police received information about keeping govt vehicles illegally, there were ample methods and more..

2017 Appropriation Bill tabled in Parliament

Oct 20 (NR) The Appropriation Bill for the year 2017 was tabled in Parliament a short while ago by Minister Ravi Karunanayake. The Bill was tabled in the House when Parliament convened at 10:30 this morning. Expenditure heads: Ministry of Defence: Rs. 284.04b; Ministry of Highways: Rs. 16.34b; Ministry of Education: Rs. 76.94b; Ministry of Health: Rs. 160.97b; Presidential Secretariat: Rs. 6.45b; Office of PM: Rs. 1.25b; more..

SLC stays firm on player contracts

Oct 20 (DM) The Sri Lanka cricketers were given time till this afternoon to accept the terms of their contracts after a fresh issue over payments surfaced earlier this week. Players led by Angelo Mathews met with cricket officials in order to reach a compromise over current impasse but the SLC had stubbornly maintained their stance with a new deadline given to accept contract terms or risk being dropped from the tour of Zimbabwe. more..

No plan B for power

Oct 20 (CT) The new Govt elected by the masses of this country nearly two years ago, on 8 Jan 2015, has failed in one of its mandates, i.e. of providing uninterrupted electricity power supply to the people of this country. The present crisis began on Monday, when, at least certain suburban areas of Colombo were deprived of electricity for hours due to an unannounced power cut. This situation was much like a terrorist attack, coming as a shock to a number of households. more..

The fraught road to justice: Sri Lankan victims of sexual violence

Oct 20 (CT) Int'l and domestic studies, articles and reports in SL are steadily illuminating the extent of sexual violence committed against women (and men) in the context of the war and times of peace. Justice and accountability for these harms, however, remain noticeably absent. Apart from a handful of cases, impunity forms the dominant landscape of SL women’s experience with seeking redress for sexual violence. Hope for any relief from this current state of injustice and inaction will depend on more..

පරිපාලන සේවය දේශපාලනඥයින්ට බය ද?

Sri Lanka business chamber welcomes export proceeds rule extension

Oct 20 (EN) The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce has welcomed the easing of the rule on repatriation of export earnings to four months from three, saying it would give exporters breathing space at a time exports are falling. “The sustainable strategy to raise export earnings should be based on enhancing competitiveness through innovation, and through export-oriented trade, investment, and macroeconomic policies,” a statement said. It said the rule on sending back more..

Despite vehement objection from BC, court lifts travel ban on Avant Garde chief

Oct 20 (CT) Referring to the recent remarks by President Maithripala Sirisena about the FCID, CID and the Bribery Commission, PHU leader Udaya Gammanpila noted that this indicates there was a hidden hand involved in the governance of the country. While noting that the President was the head of state, the govt and the Cabinet, Gammanpila said if he is not aware of the conduct of the above three institutions, there has to be a problem somewhere. more..

MiG deal: Court issues warrant through Interpol to arrest Gota’s cousin Weeratunga

Oct 20 (CT) Colombo Fort Magistrate today issued a warrant to arrest SL’s former ambassador to Russia, Udayanga Weeratunga, who is currently in hiding overseas. The warrant has been issued through Interpol over Weeratunga’s involvement in the controversial MiG deal, following a request made to the court by the FCID currently investigating the case. Weeratunga is alleged to have committed financial fraud during more..

'Hidden hand in country’s governance'

Oct 20 (DN) Referring to the recent remarks by President Maithripala Sirisena about the FCID, CID and the Bribery Commission, PHU leader Udaya Gammanpila noted that this indicates there was a hidden hand involved in the governance of the country. While noting that the President was the head of state, the government and the Cabinet, Gammanpila said if he is not aware of the conduct of the above three institutions, there has to be a problem somewhere. more..

The ETCA: Full steam ahead for India & SL?

Oct 20 (LSE) At the recently concluded World Economic Forum India Economic Summit, PM Ranil Wickeramsinghe indicated that SL and India intend to sign Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ECTA) by the end of 2016. This would be pivotal in transforming economic relations between the two countries. Economic ties between India and SL were strong in the pre-colonial era, but these weakened during the nearly 5 centuries of colonial rule (Portuguese, Dutch & British). more..

Yahapalanaya: President to spend over Rs.10 million per day; Reduced allocation for edu.

Oct 20 (AD) Total expenditure of the govt for 2017 according to the Appropriation Bill presented to the Parliament today will be over Rs.1819.5 billion. Total expenditure for 2016 was Rs.1941.4 billion and it is a Rs.21.9 billion reduction. President’s expenses has increased to the tune of Rs.6.45 billion. It was limited to Rs.2.3 billion in 2016. Therefore, fund allocated for expenses of president would exceeded Rs.10m per a day more..

Magistrate orders report into retired JMO liability over missing bones of Thajudeen

Oct 20 (Island) Colombo Magistrate Nishantha Pieris, yesterday ordered the Sri Lanka Medical Council to Submit by Nov. 30, a report on the investigations pertaining to the issue and state whether the retired JMO Professor Ananda Samarasekera had violated professional ethics in leaving room for the suspected misplacement of the bones of the late Wasim Thajudeen. Senior State Counsel, Dilan Ratnayake, sought the permission of the Court, to organise a DNA test more..

Drexit from Bribery Commission: The good, bad & ugly

Oct 20 (LBO) So His Excellency the President has ended all speculation and accepted the resignation. If the exit of Britain from Europe was Brexit, the resignation of our learned friend Dilrukshi from the CIABOC must surely be our very own Drexit; at least for the massive sensationalism it has created in the Colombo circuit. It even prompted me to awaken from the self imposed media-hibernation to put these thoughts down. Firstly credit where its due, we must thank Ms. Wickramasinghe for the good work more..

Video: UN recommends independent minorities commission for Sri Lanka

Oct 20 (DM) The UN Rapporteur on minority issues today recommended the govt establish a fully empowered independent commission for minority issues is included in constitutional reforms to implement mandates and foster relations between communities. Concluding her ten day visit Rita Izsak- Ndiaye the UN’s Rapporteur on Minority Issues urged the govt to seize the momentum that still exists from its election, more..

Shares close at 1-month low in thin trade

Oct 20 (Reuters) Shares ended slightly weaker on Thursday, posting their lowest close in a month, as investors awaited next month's national budget and a flurry of corporate results. Colombo Stock Exchange ended 0.03% or 2.03 points lower at 6,442.36, its lowest close since Sept. 20, in thin trading. "Investors are waiting to see the outcome of the budget and quarterly results," said Atchuthan Srirangan, a senior research analyst with First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd. more..

Navy snaps fishing nets of TN fishermen

Oct 20 (PTI) Nearly 500 fishermen from Rameswaram were forced to return on Thursday without catch after SL Naval personnel allegedly snapped the fishing nets of 20 mechanised boats near Katchatheevu. The fishermen had put out to sea in 100 mechanised boats last evening and were fishing near Katchatheevu, when the naval men rounded up nearly 20 boats, snapped the fishing nets and asked all the fishermen to return, Rameswaram Fishermen Association more..

Video: Garbage disposal has become a national issue: Faiszer

Oct 20 (AD) Minister Faiszer Musthapha urged the people living within municipal council areas to provide their support to the govt’s programme of segregating waste. Municipal Councils in the country have decided to refrain from collecting garbage unless they are segregated from Nov 1, 2016.  We know the problems which have been created in society due to these mountains of garbage such as diseases, he said. more..

Sri Lanka Telecom gets govt high-speed broadband deal

Oct 20 (EN) Sri Lanka Telecom has been selected to provide a high-speed broadband fibre optic govt communications network, known as Local Govt Network (LGN 2.0), that will link offices and provide services to the public as well as free public Wi-Fi. LGN is to be done by Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) during 2016-2018 at a cost of Rs12.7 billion. Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka said there were concerns about the slow data transmission speed of more..

Putin invites MS to visit Russia

Oct 20 (Island) Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited President Sirisena to visit Russia. Sirisena thanked the Russian leader and accepted the invitation. Putin-Sirisena meeting took place shortly after the dinner Indian PM Narendra Modi had hosted for leaders of BRICS and BIMSTEC in Goa on Sunday night. The conversation between the two leaders lasted more than 20 minutes. "The meeting was better than a formal bilateral one!" quipped a source involved in making it happen. more..

MoD produces locally-made Quad Copter

Oct 20 (DM) Quad Copter, an aircraft used for providing instant information to the mission control centres from the air in connection to Global Disaster Risk Analysis, Prevention and Mitigation Application, was locally produced by the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) Centre for Research and Development. Brigadier Dr. Thiran De Silva said the Quad Copter had been locally produced for the first time and they had planned to produce more..

Vaiko acquitted by court in sedition case

Oct 20 (PTI) A local court acquitted MDMK founder Vaiko of sedition charges and held him not guilty of supporting the banned terror outfit LTTE in a case dating back to 2008. Pronouncing the judgement in a packed court hall, judge said the charges against Vaiko were not proved. According to the prosecution, Vaiko had spoken in support of LTTE, and against Indian sovereignty in an indoor meeting Ilangaiyail Nadapathenna (What is happening in SL) in 2008, during early stages of the civil war more..

Prez informed of minister’s broken promises

Oct 20 (Island) A female resident of Mahiyangana complained to President Sirisena at the conclusion of a meeting yesterday following the opening of a water supply scheme that Minister Lakshman Seneviratne, who represented the Badulla constituency, had promised to provide them with houses but not made good on that pledge. The woman’s complaint evoked laughter among the politicians present including the President himself and a blushing Minister quickly retreated more..

17 players agreed to sign contract: SLC

Oct 20 (AD) 17 players have given their consent to enter into an agreement with Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). Angelo Mathews, Dinesha Chandimal, Rangana Herath, Kusal Janith Perera and Lahiru Thirimanne have given their consent. The news comes as in the wake of a contract standoff between the SLC board and players. They are said to have rejected new performance-based contracts, which present more..

Sri Lankan tea prices rise further

Oct 20 (EN) Prices of most Sri Lankan teas rose again at this week’s Colombo auction where quantities came down further with brokers saying volumes would decline even more in forthcoming sales. There was excellent demand for Low Grown teas, which make up the bulk of the crop, with volumes slightly lower than the preceding sale. Different types of teas gained Rs10-15 a kilo with good demand from shippers to Russia and other former Soviet Union states, Turkey, Dubai, more..

Champika echoes President’s views on CIABOC, police etc

Oct 20 (Island) Minister Champika Ranawaka has echoed President Maithripala Sirisena’s views on CIABOC, judiciary and the police. He says those institutions haven’t helped promote good governance. Minister Ranawaka, who was elected on the UNP ticket at the last general election, alleged that the people were deeply disappointed at those institutions. He expressed those views while speaking at an event at the National Library and Documentation Services Board on Tuesday. more..