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Caution not to strike premature body blows on RTI

Mar 29 (DM) Sri Lankan activists who rushed precipitously to file Right to Information (RTI) requests for the Assets Declarations of the President and the PM may learn a wise thing or two from their Indian counterparts. Quite different to what is sought to be made out in certain quarters, the now common practice for Indian politicians to declare assets was not because of a single RTI petition expecting automatic compliance. On the contrary, this was a result of sustained and hard activism more..

Open letter to President and PM…

Mar 29 (DM) Dear Mr. President and Mr. Prime Minister, It is time we took stock of our current situation. Waiting for another year or two would be far too late. I am not writing this letter to enlighten you, though there might be a slight chance that you do once you finish reading this humble missive. It is to remind you of the various promises both of you extended towards the people of my country at the hustings prior to Jan 8, 2015. Please lend me the time and your ears, which I am sure more..

Push for action on top brass despite arrest of soldiers

Mar 29 (SL) The arrest of three soldiers on Friday in connection to the Rathupaswala shooting incident brought a sigh of relief to the families of the victims. A strong call was issued on Friday to arrest those who issued the orders to the Army to launch an attack on the protesters who were demanding clean water in 2013. Prominent Rathupaswala monk, the Venerable Theripaha Siridhamma Thero said more..

RTI 2 months old but public still face hurdles

Mar 29 (ST) Close to two months after Sri Lanka’s Right to Information (RTI) law became operational in Sri Lanka, the continuing absence of a clear direction on the part of the Govt’s implementing agencies is making it harder for citizens to access information, despite the law being ranked third best in the world. Govt’s Right to Information website, inaugurated with much fanfare by President Sirisena recently contains some listings in more..

'Tamils have valid claim for homeland'

Mar 29 (DM) Emeritus Professor of History S. Pathmanathan, discusses the origins of settlements in Sri Lanka and argues for the Tamil Homeland concept from a historian’s point of view. Prof. Pathmanathan, who is also the Chancellor of Jaffna University, said both the Sinhalese and the Tamils have a common identity. Q: How do you analyse the origin of Tamil settlements in the north? more..

'No part of the country belongs exclusively to one ethnic group'

Mar 29 (DM) Professor Emeritus of Sri Lanka History K. M. de Silva, in a detailed email interview, challenges the claim that the north and the east are the exclusive homeland of Tamil speaking people. Instead, he said no part of the country could be claimed exclusively by any ethnic group. Prof. de Silva served at the Peradeniya University from 1969 to 1995. He is also the Director and Executive Director, International Centre for more..

Bid to convert SriLankan Airlines into a PPP: Govt looking for another partner

Mar 29 (DM) The Govt has decided to look for another partner for the national carrier Srilankan Airlines in addition to the short listed Texas Pacific Group (TPG) in its bid to convert the venture into a public-private partnership, Minister Kabir Hashim said. He said that TPG was selected out of about 14 applications received when the govt called for expressions of interest but the govt has begun discussions with several airlines as well. more..

Cabinet reshuffle after Sinhala New year

Mar 29 (DM) Govt is to withhold the proposed Cabinet reshuffle till Sinhala New Year period is over, it is learnt. Though the SLFP headed by President is eager to have a shuffle, it is learnt that the UNP is not in favour. According to UNP sources, party holds the view that Minister Ravi Karunanayake is not solely responsible for the present economic woos of the country and that his removal in a Cabinet reshuffle is not the solution at hand. more..

PM urged to secure health portfolio for UNP

Mar 29 (Island) Govt Medical Officers’ Forum (GMOF) has urged PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to ensure that a real UNPer secures the health portfolio at the next Cabinet reshuffle. GMOF President Dr. Rukshan Bellana has emphasised the importance of the UNP taking over health portfolio as successive health ministers appointed by the SLFP-led PA and SLFP-led UPFA had ruined the health sector. Dr. Senaratne switched his more..

Maj. Gen. Chagie’s dilemma reflects Sri Lanka’s plight: GL

Mar 29 (Island) Former Minister G.L. Peiris has alleged that Australia’s refusal to issue visa to Maj. Gen. Chagie Gallage on the basis of unverified UN allegations should be examined against the backdrop of the govt reiterating its commitment to implementing the 2015 Geneva Resolution 30/1. He pointed out that 2015 resolution, too, had been based on same accusations that were never substantiated but propagated by UN. more..

We will meet when time is right: Rajinikanth writes to Sri Lankan Tamils

Mar 29 (PTI) Actor Rajinikanth on Wednesday thanked Sri Lankan Tamils for their love and affection, days after he cancelled his visit to the island nation following opposition from pro-Tamil outfits. “I came to know your love for me through the media. I have no words to thank you. Let us think good and only good things will happen,” he said in a statement. Originally on April 9, Mr. Rajinikanth was scheduled to hand over 150 new houses more..

Sandya Eknelygoda: International Woman of Courage

Mar 29 (USE) Each year, the U.S. Department of State recognizes the exceptional courage and commitment of women who serve as advocates for human rights, justice, peace, and gender equality.  Today, Sri Lanka’s Sandya Eknelygoda joins twelve other women from across the globe to receive the U.S. Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage award for 2017.  First Lady Melania Trump and more..

Is Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe the next Ranasinghe Premadasa?

Mar 29 (CT) The UNP is the country’s largest single party and is vital to Sri Lanka’s future as a democracy and a market economy. Therefore the fate of the UNP is of concern to all of us, including those like myself, who are from and are on, the other side of the politico-ideological divide (in my case, with the crucial exception of the Premadasa Presidency). The present leadership of the UNP is highly likely to take the party down to its lowest strength ever, more..

A van suspected to have been used to abduct Keith Noyahr found

Mar 29 (DM) A van suspected to have been used for several crimes including the abduction of journalist Keith Noyahr in 2008 was found from a house at Piliyandala, police spokesman DIG Priyantha Jayakody said. He said the van was found by officers of the CID from a house of a woman who was known by the Army Major Bulathwatta. Police suspects this van may have been used for the murder of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge and several other crimes. more..

Hambantota Port Issue

SL to call for tenders to mine quartz deposit

Mar 29 (EN) SL is to call for open international tenders to mine a rich vein quartz deposit in the southern Wellawaya region where mining will not be possible when a hydropower and irrigation reservoir under construction gets filled with water. Cabinet this week decided to do a full feasibility study of the deposit in the Kotikambokka forest estimated contain 910,000 cubic metres of quartz. The deposit is close to Alikota Aara reservoir under construction under Uma Oya multi-purpose scheme. more..

when the LAW is a joke

Mar 29 (CT) The front pages of almost every newspaper in this country reek of the depths of crises in almost every walk of life, public and private, that we have descended to. While discontent and a lust for lucre are among the more dominant reasons for crises in individual and family lives, the individual and family as a whole can't be blamed if only because of the impact on the ego in this day and age of runaway materialism. Blessed are those who have discovered the secret of consciously more..

EPF Scam: Central Bank governor accused of pussyfooting

Mar 29 (CT) The Central Bank’s stance on the accused perpetrators of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) scam is been severely criticized by Central Bank whistleblowers. A group of whistleblowers went on to say that the precent Governor, Indrajit Coomaraswamy and the Monetary Board should know that this was the very same institution that once had a reputation for taking a firm stand and even going to more..

Sri Lanka, Sydney stock exchange tie-up mulls cross listing, trading

Mar 29 (EN) Sri Lanka’s Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) and the Sydney Stock Exchange (SSX) recently entered into an agreement for mutual development that will explore possibility of cross listing and trading. A statement said the MoU between the CSE and SSX was inked during a visit by a Sri Lankan team for the Invest Sri Lanka Forum that took place in Sydney last week. It aims “to create new links between Australian and Sri Lankan businesses and capital markets,” more..

Fort Railway Station bomb: LTTE suspect sentenced 20 years RI

Mar 29 (DN) A LTTE suspect who was found guilty to the charge of having aided and abetted the conspiracy to detonate a suicide bomb at the Fort Railway Station in 2008 was sentenced to 20-year-rigorous imprisonment by the Colombo High Court today. Handing down a sentence against accused Kanagasabei Dewadasan alias Nadan, High Court Judge Piyasena Ranasinghe observed that the prosecution has proven the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt. more..

Video: H’tota Port deal: JO mulling withdrawal from oversight committee

Mar 29 (DM) The Joint Opposition (JO) today said there was no point in continuing to represent the oversight committee on Hambantota Port agreement if the govt has already made up its mind over the agreement. JO MP Dullas Alahapperuma said it seems the govt was bypassing Parliament to close the port agreement. “This is what the govt did in 2001 when entering into an agreement with the LTTE. more..

UNHRC outcome to be debated in Parliament

Mar 29 (NR) Speaker of the House Karu Jayasuriya has consented to holding a special debate in Parliament under the theme Sri Lanka’s Action at the UNHRC. Leader of the Joint Opposition MP Dinesh Gunawardene said the decision was arrived at following a request by the Joint Opposition. MP Gunewardene said approval was granted to hold a debate on the actions of the govt at the UNHRC in Geneva in order for the general public to portray their thoughts on the matter. more..

Special exposition of Tooth Relic on May 14

Mar 29 (Island) A special exposition of the Sacred Tooth relic for foreigners attending the International Vesak Celebrations will be held on May 14 at Sri Dalada Maligawa. The event has been fixed in consultation with the Most Venerable Mahanayaka Theras of Malwatte and Asgirirya Chapters and Diyawadana Nilame Pradeep Nilanga Dela. The final phase of the International Vesak Day celebration will take place at the historical Mahamaluwa in front of the Sri Dalada Maligawa on May 14. more..

Video: Provide police protection to PCOI members investigating bond issue: JVP

Mar 29 (DM) Police protection should be provided to the members of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) on CB Bond issue, as requested by them, because it was a controversial matter and had political backing, JVP said. He said the IGP should have provided the commissioners with security even before making a formal request to do so. Mr. Dissanayake said that IGP should explain why he did not take steps to provide security more..

Dr. Naville Fernando says he will not be the loser but the country

Mar 29 (Island) Founder Chairman of SAITM Dr. Neville Fernando said if GMOA thought it was capable of having SAITM closed down it was daydreaming. He said one who was afraid of devils did not build houses on a graveyard. The veteran medical practitioner and one time UNP deputy minister said SAITM would not yield to the pressures of the GMOA and it would proceed on the journey it had started. He was commenting on GMOA’s warning that unless govt solves SAITM issue more..

Video: Suffer the consequences now, JVP tells Wimal

Mar 29 (AD) If committed offenses, suffer the consequences, this is the slogan we have to tell Wimal Weerawansa, JVP said. “When a thief is arrested, what is the point if he argues that many thieves are out there at large,” JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake asked. The leader of the NFF, Wimal Weerawansa, was a former strong member of the JVP, and he joined the govt of former President Rajapaksa in 2008. He pointed out Weerawansa should understand and admit to the fact that more..

I am not ready to make any war hero a suspect: President

Mar 29 (PSL) President Sirisena said that he is not prepared to make any war hero a suspect in the charges leveled against the armed forces and the govt on the alleged violations of human rights during the war against terrorism. He made this statement at the opening of the newly constructed 3-storeyed building at the Defence Services School in Kurunegala. President presented Virisara beneficial cards to war heroes more..

Civil Defence Dept declares war on dengue in 22 towns

Mar 29 (CT) The Civil Security Department (CSD) will be carrying out an islandwide programme in 22 cities and towns to eradicate mosquito breeding grounds and curb the spread of Dengue fever. In accordance with directives given by President Sirisena, the Director General of the Civil Security Department has organized an island wide campaign to be carried out by Civil Security personnel station in various battalion headquarters and training schools across the country. more..

Resettlement Ministry constructs 11,253 houses in war affected areas

Mar 29 (GDI) Minister D.M. Swaminathan said that his ministry has constructed 11,253 houses in war affected areas in Northern and Eastern provinces and in border villages in Puttlam, Anuradhapura, and Polonnaruwa districts in 2016. According to him, the ministry has renovated 2,170 partly damaged houses, 171 roads, 41 pre-schools, 29 schools, and 23 hospitals. It has also granted provisions for 104 free domestic electricity connections, 3,371 water supply connections, more..

UNP to appoint new General Secretary

Mar 29 (DM) The United National Party (UNP) is likely to appoint a new General Secretary as a part of its restructuring drive, a party senior said yesterday. UNP General Secretary Kabir Hashim told a media briefing that there is a possibility of party appointing a new general secretary as well. “UNP is always open for changes and appointment of persons for various positions including the general secretary’s post is never permanent,” he said. more..

'Economic policies of govt falling far short'

Mar 29 (LBO) Economic policies of the present govt are falling far short of expectations, driven by lack of confidence in the finance minister, Joint Opposition MP Tharaka Balasuriya said in parliament. Public sector salary hikes, lower fuel prices, erratic budget decisions and vehicle purchases for ministers were some of the glaring follies of the present govt, he said. “I think it’s fair to say that even the most optimistic supporter of the govt, whilst looking at the current economic situation, more..

Lanka Sathosa outlet network expanded

Mar 29 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena opened the Lanka Sathosa outlet at Kohuwala today (28) with the aim of providing high quality food at concessionary rates to the consumers. In parallel to the opening of this outlet further 52 outlets were opened around the country on the same day. Accordingly, at present there are 380 Lanka Sathosa outlets across the country and the Govt is expected to increase the number of Sathosa outlets to 500 by end of this year. more..

Video: Gota not threat to MS, says Isura D

Mar 29 (DM) Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa could not pose a threat to President Sirisena as a next Presidential Candidate because he could not attract votes from the north and the east as seen crucial for the final outcome at the last election, Western Province Chief Minister Isuru Devapriya said. Devapriya, handpicked by President Sirisena for the CM post, said Gothabaya Rajapaksa was only a military officer and more..

'Will settle USD 275 mn debt to Iran once financial restrictions are lifted'

Mar 29 (Island) Petroleum Minister Chandima Weerakkody said the Govt of Sri Lanka was ready to settle an amount of USD 275 million to Iran for purchasing crude oil, once the banking sanctions on that country was lifted. Responding to a query, Minister Weerakkody said even though the US lifted sanctions on Iran recently, severe restrictions on money transfers remained and therefore the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) couldn’t make long overdue payments for fuel supplies. more..

Sri Lanka to compensate journalists threatened or victimised

Mar 29 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka has decided to compensate journalists threatened or victimised in the past, SL govt said on Wednesday. President Maithripala Sirisena has appointed a committee to study proposals on steps to be taken to compensate journalists harassed or victimised in other ways from 2005 to 2015. The foreign minister, the media minister and the justice minister will make recommendations on the steps to be taken to provide relief to the harassed journalists. more..

Using influence to get bank account unfrozen

Mar 29 (DM) A young opposition Diyawanna member from the deep South had to face a big financial problem when a sizeable amount of money held in an account in a state-owned bank was frozen on a court order. The young politico approached several politically powerful persons seeking their help to secure the release of the monies in the frozen account. Of the powerful persons whom more..

UAE Exchange partners with SL's eZ Cash

Mar 29 (TA) UAE Exchange, a leading global remittance, foreign exchange and payment solutions brand, has partnered with eZ Cash, Sri Lanka’s largest and pioneering mobile payment network managed by Dialog Axiata, for instant mobile wallet credit. With this service, Sri Lankan expatriates residing in the UAE can now transfer funds instantly to their beneficiary’s mobile wallet in Sri Lanka. This is a first-of-its-kind remittance service from the UAE to Sri Lanka, a statement said. more..

Video: Wimal transferred to National Hospital

Mar 29 (DM) MP Wimal Weerawansa, who was admitted to the Prison Hospital on Sunday, was transferred to the Colombo National Hospital a short while ago. NFF Leader MP Weerawansa, who is currently in remand, commenced a hunger strike on March 22 at the Magazine Prison by refusing to have his breakfast. He was arrested on January 10 and was remanded for allegedly misusing 40 State vehicles belonging to the State Engineering Corporation causing a loss of Rs. 90 million. more..

President signals green light for VVIP arrests

Mar 29 (EN) President Sirisena drew a clear distinction between war heroes and those who used national security as a cover to target journalists and personal rivals and cleared the way for VVIP arrests. In an address to war veterans, the president said he will stand by the military which crushed the Tamil Tigers and ended the decades-long ethnic war, but he will not protect those who attacked journalists and sportsmen. more..

Prohibiting Inhuman Strikes By Doctors & Ungrateful Students

Mar 30 (CT) The latest despicable threat by GMOA to reportedly launch the biggest strike ever in the country’s history represents a crude piece of trade union megalomania. It is tantamount to a kind of medical thuggary that is a disgrace to the medical profession. In our day and age doctors (prosperous members of a once noble profession) and University students (unashamed young dependents on public charity) have become strange bedfellows in launching disruptive strikes that cause more..