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14th United Nations Day of Vesak 2017

May 11 (DN) For the first time in Sri Lanka the 14th UN Day of Vesak 2017, Conference will be held in Colombo and Kandy from May 12 to 14 with the participation of a large number of local and foreign delegations. The main theme focuses on Buddhist Teachings for Social Justice and Sustainable World Peace. Vesak is the main Buddhist religious festival in Sri Lanka. During this time, people celebrate the triple anniversary more..

Prez Pardon for 661 prisoners to mark Vesak

May 11 (DN) A Presidential Pardon and freedom has been granted to 661 prisoners around the country to mark Vesak celebrations this year. Of the 661 prisoners, 597 were released, while the remaining 64 prisoners who had been convicted of more than one crime, received pardon for one of their crimes. Of those released, 592 were male and five were female prisoners. The prisoners released from 30 prison facilities around the island had been convicted of minor offenses such as more..

Commercial Mediation Centre of Sri Lanka revived by state

May 11 (Island) The latest addition to the dispute resolution landscape in Sri Lanka is the Commercial Mediation Centre of Sri Lanka. The Centre is established in terms of the Commercial Mediation Centre of Sri Lanka Act, No. 44 of 2000 as amended by Act No. 35 of 2005 and was in existence for a brief period from 2001 but terminated its services thereafter. Board of Management of the Centre has been re-appointed by the Minister of Justice with effect from January 2017 and more..

FCID accuses Attorney General of being sluggish In Rajapaksa investigations

May 11 (CT) FCID has accused the Attorney General of adopting a sluggish attitude in directing the division on how to proceed with certain vital cases concerning former President Rajapaksa and his associates. Apart from coming under pressure from powerful quarters, FCID is also compelled to sit and wait because despite referring certain cases to the AG, they are yet to receive instructions on how to proceed. more..

Ranjan-Padeniya iron out differences

May 11 (DM) Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake and GMOA President Anurudha Padeniya who were seemingly on a collision course buried the hatchet. Deputy minister and Dr Padeniya had visited Sambodhi Vihara at Gregory’s Road to participate in religious observances for Vesak when Ven. Daranagama Kusala Dhamma Thera met both of them and advised them to iron out their differences and make peace with each other. “I reconciled with Dr Padeniya following the advice given by more..

Chinese national nabbed with illicit liquor

May 11 (DM) A Chinese national was taken into custody by the Bambalapitiya Police when he was found brewing illicit liquor (Kasippu) in a room on the third floor of an apartment in Bambalapitiya. At the time of the arrest, the suspect was in possession of 650 litres of Goda, 160 litres of illicit liquor, 168 sticks of foreign cigarettes and other equipment used to brew arrack, police said.  Investigations revealed that the suspect had been living in Puttalam for two years, and had shifted to more..

Assistant Governor and another transferred over their alleged role in causing loss to EPF

May 11 (Island) Central Bank Governor Dr Indrajith Coomaraswamy disclosed that an Assistant Governor and an officer of the Employees Provident Fund Department had been transferred over their alleged role in causing a loss to the EPF through the bond scams. An internal probe into the conduct of the two officers was on-going and explanations from them would also be called, he said. more..

SC extends stay order on cutting down Bo tree

May 11 (Island) The Supreme Court yesterday extended till June 13, a stay order, restraining the Urban Development Authority and the Ministry of Megapolis from felling a Bo-tree, at the Pannipitiya junction. A group of residents of Pannipitiya have filed a fundamental rights violation complaining that their rights have been violated. The petitioners have requested the Supreme Court to order the respondents to stop the project initiated to cut down the Bo-tree. more..

Video: S.M. Ranjith steps down from ministerial portfolios

May 11 (AD) S.M. Ranjith says he has resigned from his ministerial portfolios in the North Central Provincial Council. Ranjith said that he resigned in protest of removing K.H. Nandasena from the ministerial post on Wednesday. K.H. Nandasena said that he was informed on the decision to remove him from his ministerial portfolios this morning. Nandasena also alleged that his ministerial portfolios were removed for backing former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

President hands over Sathwiru Sanhinda houses to War Heroes

May 11 (MoD) President Maithripala Sirisena was the chief guest at the Sathwiru Sanhinda house handing over ceremony held at the Ape Gama in Battaramulla today (10). State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene and Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Karunasena Hettiarachchi were also present at the occasion. Making a brief welcome address, Secretary Hettiarachchi welcomed the distinguished guests and more..

‘Price drops, packed stocks cry for a bargain-filled Vesak season’

May 11 (Island) A steep drop in prices of essential items, sustained by steady supplies, has resulted in one of the best Vesak buying seasons for the SL consumer. "Our work to control the supply situation starting April 7 on the instructions of President has brought good results" said Minister Rishad Bathiudeen on May 9 in Colombo. He was responding to latest updates from retail and wholesale distributors of Pettah –Colombo’s wholesale market epicentre- on May 9. more..

Rs 1.2 bn allocated for ministers’ luxury vehicles in 2017 alone

May 11 (Island) The national economy was deteriorating at an alarming rate as revealed by the latest Central Bank annual report, but the ruling coalition had presented three supplementary budgets amounting to staggering Rs 1.2 bn to acquire more super luxury vehicles for politicians and officials this year alone, JO heavyweight Prof. G.L. Peiris said. He attacked the controversial process of presenting supplementary estimates for the benefit of politicians and officials. more..

Anti-piracy operations: SL-Dutch MoU on arms storing facility in Galle

May 11 (Island) SL and the Netherlands will soon finalise an agreement on facilitating latter’s deployment of personnel to protect vessels carrying its flag on Somali waters. Discussions had been held between the defence ministries of the two countries on a MoU. Netherlands would use the Galle navy base to store weapons and other equipment required by its personnel assigned for protection of vessels. more..

Vancouver couple caught in absurd immigration law limbo launches SC appeal

May 11 (CBC) Taxi driver Nisreen Nilam fled Sri Lanka almost a decade ago and successfully claimed refugee status, but he's still waiting to become a full Canadian citizen because his case is snarled in a changes to immigration policy. Nilam, 36, came to Vancouver during a raging civil war in his home country in 2008. His lawyer says he followed the rules when he made two return trips home, but now that Canada's immigration laws have changed, he's caught in a legal limbo. more..

President appeals to Maha Sangha to help save Ola leaf scripts

May 11 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena appealed for the cooperation of the Maha Sangha to project for the conservation of talipot script (Puskola poth) as the script had recorded the story of the nation and its cultural heritage. The project had been launched with the hope of preserving the script for the future generations, President said at the ceremonial unveiling of the pinnacle of the newly built Asgiriya Vihara Maha Seya of the Asgiriya Maha Vihara Pirivena on Monday. more..

Pruning MR's personal security: Govt denies political motivation

May 11 (CT) The pruning of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa's personal security detail was due to the absence of a security threat and not a politically motivated decision, Govt said. The Govt decided to withdraw 42 Police bodyguards assigned to former President Rajapaksa's security detail on the basis of a recent security assessment, which has indicated that he didn't face a security threat, Minister Sagala Ratnayaka said. more..

Sri Lankan fishermen seek time frame

May 11 (Hindu) Welcoming the move to allocate Rs. 1,500 crore to wean Tamil Nadu fishermen off bottom trawling, Sri Lankan fishermen leader N. M. Aalam said the Centre must also specify a time frame for this. “We appreciate the Central govt's efforts to help the TN fishermen, but what is the plan meanwhile to ensure their fishermen don’t cross the maritime boundary?” he asked. This should not drag on indefinitely and that is where a clear time frame from India would help,” said Mr. Aalam, more..

Wasps attack pilgrims ahead of Modi’s visit

May 11 (AFP) 50 pilgrims in Sri Lanka were taken to hospital on Wednesday after being attacked by a swarm of wasps as they celebrated Buddhism’s holiest day. Police said a monk was among those hospitalised after the cloud of insects descended on a temple at Mundal, 110-km north of the capital Colombo. The attack came as pilgrims celebrated the festival of Vesak honouring the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha. Earlier this week two wasp nests were removed more..

Attack on PNB team: Masterminds identified

May 11 (Island) Police have identified the masterminds behind Tuesday night’s attack on a team of Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) officers in Piliyandala. A policeman was killed and two officers were seriously injured in the attack. Police said the attack, carried out by two gunmen, riding a motorcycle, had been planned by an underworld figure known as Madush and notorious drug dealer in the Welikade Prison. An elderly person and two children, injured more..

Baby sale racket uncovered in Kandy

May 11 (Island) A girl’s complaint has led the Kandy police to uncover racket, where newborns are to foreigners. Girl, in her complaint, said that her mother (38) entered a private hospital in Kandy for confinement and returned home a few days later without a baby.  Children’s and Women’s Bureau of Kandy Police with OIC Chief Inspector Ayesha Bandara Commenced an investigation, which revealed that the woman had sold the newborn to two women, from Mahaiyawa, Kandy & Galle. more..

Modi here this evening

May 11 (CT) Indian PM Shri Narendra Modi will be in Colombo today and tomorrow to participate in celebrations marking UN Vesak Day, Indian Premier will arrive on a special Air India flight from New Delhi at the BIA at 5.30 p.m. He is expected to proceed to the Gangaramaya Temple in Slave Island for a lamp lighting ceremony tomorrow night and will take in the Vesak decorations in and around the Gangaramaya. He will be spending the night at the Presidential suite of of the five star Taj Samudra. more..

Modi heads to SL as Chinese influence rises

May 11 (AFP) India's PM Narendra Modi heads to SL on a charm offensive as New Delhi seeks to reassert its influence on Sri Lanka amid signs of a Chinese comeback. President Sirisena came to power in Jan 2015 promising to loosen ties with China after a decade of hefty funding by Beijing under his predecessor. When Modi visited SL shortly afterwards, he promised to script a golden chapter in the history of India-Sri Lanka relations. more..

Vesak: Towards a peaceful & just society

May 11 (DM) Vesak 2017 will be a little more than thrice-blessed for SL with the UN deciding to celebrate the Vesak festival here, with India’s PM Narendra Modi and Nepal’s President Bidhya Devi Bhandari being among the VIPs attending it. The three-day international Vesak conference at the BMICH here will have a significant theme, A peaceful and just society. Significantly it was the then Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, who 14 years ago played a key role in getting more..

SAITM Issue and the politics of misnaming

May 11 (DM) Whoever is against SAITM should also be opposed to fee-levying institutions such as private nurseries, tuition classes, outfits that offer all kinds of certification and practices such as channelling services. This is an argument that is widely tossed around by those opposing opposition to SAITM. The flak that Dr Anuruddha Padeniya of the GMOA has got over the past few days has been liberally padded with such logic. His detractors have roundly castigated him for offering more..

May Day: A catalyst of future politics

May 11 (DM) This year’s May Day commemoration appears to have become the catalyst that determines the nature of politics in the months to come. It is now obvious that the Joint Opposition, led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, displayed a show of power by filling the Galle Face expanse with its supporters, a challenge believed by many as impossible to be accomplished.   After the event, it now looks like that political parties more..

JO conspired against Gota, Basil?

May 11 (Island) The JO strongly denied that it had purposely voted for the 19th Amendment, knowing that the Rajapaksa brothers, Basil and Gotabhaya would be debarred from contesting future elections. 19th Amendment debarred Sri Lankans holding dual citizenship from contesting polls. Parliament adopted the new law in late April 2015. Asked why members of JO, except then MP retired Rear Aadmiral Sarath Weerasekera, more..

Salawa: Controversy over arrest of junior officers

May 11 (SL) Controversy has arisen in the military establishment over the recent arrest of three junior officers over the Salawa explosion. Following the arrest of the junior officers, tensions arose within the military establishment as no action was taken against some senior officers. According to sources three senior army officers are being protected over the incident. The three senior officers have been sent on compulsory leave while more..

Millions of mouths run dry in drought without end

May 11 (ST) A drop of water to drink has become a rare luxury for more than a million Sri Lankans who are still struggling through a drought that has lasted for months since it intensified in November. There had been warnings many months ago of the impending drought. The water shortage remains acute in 12 districts. Farmer groups accuse the govt of mismanaging water resources and water supplies workers charge that rulers only more..

New Dengue killer rampant...

May 11 (CT) Of the four strains of the Dengue disease, the second group becoming active since the beginning of this year has begun to pose serious concerns. Until the end of 2016, the active strains of the four types of Dengue were one and four only. Now, contracting of the diseases within those two strains has reduced and the second strain has become active. Situation had arisen in which health authorities found it extremely challenging more..

The day my child was killed by an elephant

May 11 (BBC) Conflict between humans and elephants is more intense in Sri Lanka than anywhere else in the world - 70 people are killed every year and more than 250 elephants die. Clashes are particularly frequent in areas that were abandoned for long periods during the country's lengthy civil war. Last June, six-year-old Sulojini and her father, Raja Thurai, were returning home from the river in the late afternoon sunshine. more..

PM to sign MoU with China during his visit next week

May 11 (DM) In the wake of signing a MoU with India, Govt is hoping to sign a similar agreement with China during PM Ranil Wickremasinghe’s visit to that country. Cabinet yesterday endorsed the MoU to be signed with China on cooperation in the fields of urban development, transportation, power and energy and road development though no specific project is outlined in the agreement. PM will leave for China soon after Vesak more..

Italy seizes ship-load of tramadol for ISIS via Sri Lanka

May 11 (HS) Police in Italy have seized an estimated 37 million painkillers which they suspect were being shipped to Libya to be sold to ISIS fighters who take them during battle. The pills are understood to be tramadol, the painkiller which some use as a cheap alternative to cocaine. It’s thought the tablets are frequently sold to ISIS fighters for about $2 each, meaning the haul was worth in the region of $75 million to whoever more..

All set to celebrate SL’s first UN Vesak Day

May 11 (ST) Cultural events, colourful decorations, discussions on Buddhism and other religious events will be part of the 14th UN Day of Vesak to be commemorated in Colombo and Kandy from May 12-May 14. This is the first time Sri Lanka is hosting the event which has earlier been hosted 11 times in Thailand and twice in Vietnam. Over 70 countries have confirmed their participation with Pakistan & Seychelles experiencing their first more..

Upcountry Tamils set to welcome Modi

May 11 (Hindu) PM Narendra Modi will arrive in Colombo on Thursday to participate in the international UN Vesak Day hosted by Sri Lanka. During the two-day visit, he will address thousands of upcountry Tamils of the country, shining the spotlight on the 1.6 million-strong community inhabiting the island’s Central and Southern provinces. On Friday, Mr. Modi will speak at a public meeting in Norwood, in island’s hill country, more..

Macron’s big win: Vital lessons for Sri Lanka

May 12 (CT) After the most thrilling and tumultuous election campaign of recent times, the French have defied populism and made history. Emmanuel Macron, the 39-year-old leader of the fledgling En Marche! (On the Move!) party, soundly defeated Ms Marine Le Pen by 66% to 34%. The defeat of Le Pen, the unsinkable stalwart of the xenophobic right, undoubtedly offered great comfort to all those who have worried of the almost meteoric rise of the far right movements in recent past in the West. more..

An open letter to GMOA President Padeniya

May 12 (CT) Dear Dr. Padeniya, Having observed the various developments in the health sector and in medical education in the past few years, I thought of writing to you on my appraisal of the current situation. I hope it is not too late in the day to write to you. I write as a senior physician, a medical teacher, a past member of the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) for ten years, and a former vice president and a long serving committee member of the GMOA. more..

Rebel monk’s endeavour for social justice

May 12 (ST) I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done, said Lord Buddha. Personifying these words is the most recent spiritual labour of Ven. Kirama Wimalajothi Thera – the International Bhikkhuni Training Centre in Kananwila. Affiliated to the Dekanduwala Dhamma Training and Meditation Centre for Bhikkhunis in Kananwila which was initiated by the Venerable  Thera in 1993, Int'l Bhikkhuni Training Centre more..

Of truths, half-truths and untruths

May 12 (DN) Truth is often bitter and painful. Our Ministers and other ruling politicians are kind enough to remind us about it quite often. However, they are the very same people who sang sweet truths to our ears during election time. Be that as it may, one has to remember that truth is always relative and not absolute. There is always a gap between relative and absolute truth. What one person sees as truth may be an untruth to another, depending on his location or vision. more..

Playing pandu with people’s lives

May 12 (CT) From 1954, until Mrs. Sirima Bandaranaike came to power in the '70s, I was the political and parliamentary correspondent for Lake House. On 31 May 1970, Mrs. B was sworn in as PM, when Dudley Senanayake lost the election. That was her second Cabinet. The first Cabinet of Mrs. Bandaranaike was from 1960-65. When Mrs. Bandaranaike formed the Cabinet in 1970, LSSP and CP joined her. Hector Kobbekaduwa, a Kandy lawyer, became the Minister of more..

'We are totally democratic!'

May 12 (CT) The President of the GMOA Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya yesterday said that the GMOA had no political or commercial agendas and they did what they thought was the best for the profession and the country. He also said that there were vested interests and that they were independent to form their own ideology and that it was up to the others to decide whether they were going to agree with them or not. more..