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Rajapaksa onslaught and options for Sirisena–Ranil govt

May 12 (GV) It was some half a century ago that we marched crying the slogan We are going to – Galle Face; Come with us to – Galle Face. My elder brother and I had two red shirts especially made by our mother for May Day. She wore a red saree. My father had red bush coat. That was the May Day rally and demonstration of the united left in 1963, which shook the ruling classes in the country. Shanmugadasan, leader of the SL Communist party (Chinese wing) who penned his biography more..

UN Day of Vesak: Focus on Buddha’s timeless message

May 12 (DN) The UN has been celebrating Vesak officially since 1999. That year, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in which it recognized the International Day to acknowledge the contribution that Buddhism, one of the oldest religions in the world, has made for over two and a half millennia and continues to make to the spirituality of humanity. The credit for gaining greater recognition for Buddhism and Vesak within the UN should go to late Foreign Minister Lakshman more..

Face the Nation

Sri Lanka’s forest-based strategy to combat the threat of climate change

May 12 (Island) It is now an established fact that the root cause of rapidly increasing changes in climatic conditions across the world is a rise in the concentrations of heat-trapping carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. According to NASA scientists, this decades-long trend of rapidly increasing average global temperature is continuing, and is aggravated with Arctic sea ice decline. Through the Sri Lanka NEXT initiative, govt of SL is committed to more..

Editorial: When cops get killed

May 12 (Island) The growing impotency of the state vis-a-vis powerful crime syndicates has become manifestly evident on numerous occasions during the last few decades. Kudu Nauffer, a drug baron, serving a sentence had the upright HC Judge Sarath Ambepitiya, who had meted out deterrent punishment to drug dealers, assassinated in 2004. STF Commandant DIG R.W.M.C. Ranawana suffered serious injury at the hands of a group of convicted criminals who broke into Welikada more..

The Kaleidoscopic World of Vesak Pandals

May 12 (Roar) Vesak, the festival celebrating the birth, enlightenment, and passing of Lord Buddha, is celebrated with great fervour by the country’s majority Buddhist populace. This year Sri Lanka will be hosting the UN’ International Day of Vesak for 2017. While Buddhist nations have celebrated this festival for generations, the UN only adopted it in 1999 on the initiative of SL’s respected foreign minister Lakshman Kadiragamar. more..

Blue Mountain brightens up UN Vesak Day celebrations

May 12 (Island) The UN Vesak Day will be celebrated in Sri Lanka this year with the participation of Buddhist leaders from around the world, making it a landmark celebration. The three-day celebration will begin on 12th May in Colombo. Vesak marks the birth, enlightenment and the attaining nibbana of the Buddha. The significance of Vesak lies in the Buddha’s teaching of cessation of suffering and universal peace to all humankind. It is a message of peace and perfect harmony more..

RTC's historic Governor’s Cup and Queen’s Cup Races

May 12 (DN) Deepthika Jayakody bagged it all as her horses dominated to win both prestigious races, the Governor's Cup and Queen's Cup when the Royal Turf Club (RTC) April 29 race day came to an end at the scenic Nuwara Eliya racing track. The legendary horse Alcazaba rode by the Indian ace jockey Y.S. Srinath won Deepthika the top title of the day, the Governor's Cup, which she won back-to-back while Captain Haddock rode by jockey Irvan Singh won her the Queen's Cup. more..

Modi comes calling again: But the icon of March 2015 is a bugbear in May 2017  

May 12 (SAM) On his first visit to Sri Lanka in March 2015, Indian PM Narendra Modi was a South Asian icon to be looked up to and emulated. His rise from being a humble tea boy to be the PM of a gigantic country like India, was the stuff of dreams and a beacon of hope among the disadvantaged in the entire region. His avowed South Asian regional orientation and his Look East declarations gave hope of a fresh deal for more..

Fatal motor accident in Polonnaruwa leaves four dead

May 12 (AD) Four individuals have been declared dead, after an accident involving a bus colliding with a motorcycle occurred in Bandiwewa, Polonnaruwa,  last night.  The four individuals had passed away after being admitted to the hospital. The bodies of the deceased that have been identified include the bodies of Bandiwewa residents, Roshan Madushanka (23), Dilshan Kure (24), and Nishantha Silva (48). The autopsy investigations pertaining to the case will be more..

ABB to collaborate with Sri Lankan universities to train engineers

May 12 (ST) ABB, a global leader in electrification products, is partnering three leading Sri Lankan universities to train the next genertion of post graduate and PhD students in the field of electrical engineering. At a recent event, ABB Sri Lanka formalized an engagement with the Universities of Moratuwa, Ruhuna and Peradeniya for software capacity building that will develop the next generation of electrical engineers for the island, the company said in a media release. more..

Giving freedoms to the people of SL, ending white vans, helped get back GSP+: Eran

May 12 (EN) Sri Lanka has given back freedoms and better governance to citizens in line with promises made by the current regime, helping get back GSP+ trade benefits, Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne said. The current administration came to power on the promise of restoring fundamental freedoms to the people and rule of law. These freedoms were being improved regardless of whether GSP+ was involved, more..

Junior Netball: Sri Lanka advance to semis

May 12 (CT) Defending champions SL Junior Netball team advanced to the semi-final when they defeated Hong Kong 60-45 in the final group match at the Asian Junior Netball Championship played at Jeonju, Korea yesterday. At half time Sri Lanka led 29-21. SL took control of the game from the first quarter, racing to a 18-10 lead. They extended the lead further and went into half time 29-21. At the end of the 3rd quarter it was 46-32 and at the final whistle the score was 60-45. more..

FDI crashes to alarming levels

May 12 (CT) Highlighting that foreign direct investments to Sri Lanka have fallen to alarming levels, real estate specialist stressed the need for better policies, governance, stability and rule of law to increase private sector participation. JLL Lanka Managing Director Steven Mayes highlighted that FDI inflows to SL had fluctuated since the dawn of peace in May 2009 and now shows an alarming decline. FDI which held a share of 1.5% of GDP in 2011 had fallen to 1.26% in 2014. more..

PM Modi in Sri Lanka: Congress urges for dialogues on fishermen

May 12 (ANI) As PM Narendra Modi is currently on a two-day official visit to Sri Lanka, Congress party on Friday while drawing upon the ongoing tussle between Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu over fishermen being detained said the issues needed to properly handled. “The chronic issues of fishermen being detained by the SL authorities, presence of Tamilians in the island and other such issues need to be properly handled. more..

Treasury imposes strict controls on using budgetary provisions

May 12 (ST) Given the difficult environment and ambitious budgetary targets, govt is taking measures to ensure the maximum use of financial allocations approved in the 2017 budget. With the aim of maintaining strict monetary control in ministries and state institutions, the Treasury recently issued a state accounts circular directing all ministry secretaries, chief secretaries of provincial councils and heads of departments to stop making any financial commitments more..

Govt complicity in suspicious Bambalapitiya land deal?

May 12 (Island) We have written extensively in this newspaper about the proposed Bambalapitiya flats redevelopment project. Despite the revelations about the lack of financial standing of the promoter UTL Global Projects Pte Ltd to undertake a project of this magnitude, in March this year, Cabinet granted approval to the National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) to sign an agreement with City Square Projects (Pvt) Ltd., a fully owned subsidiary of UTL Global Projects more..

Treasury Bond Issue: ‘CB Governor has authority to change MOC decisions’

May 12 (DN) The Central Bank Governor has the authority to change decisions taken by the Market Operations Committee (MOC) and the Tender Board, Dr. Nandalaal Weerasinghe yesterday said. One main allegation against former Governor Arjun Mahendran was that he had taken decisions regarding the Treasury bond issuance on Feb 27, 2015, which were contrary to what the Market Operations Committee and more..

Sri Lanka - Thailand FTA likely to face delay

May 12 (BP) Thailand is unlikely to be able to sign a free-trade agreement (FTA) with Sri Lanka this year as expected, according to a high-ranking state official. Boonyarit Kalayanamit, director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department, said the planned Thailand-Sri Lanka FTA is still being studied and is likely be completed in July. "We expect the two dialogue partners to open talks late this year, starting with the liberalisation of trade in goods," he said. more..

Sri Lanka at the Sheraton

May 12 (JP) Continuing its commendable decision to showcase different cuisines, the Sheraton Tel Aviv Hotel is now offering a Sri Lankan festival, which will run until May 20. The Sri Lankan ambassador, H.E. Selvaraj Periyasamy Pillai, invited guests to a dinner composed of typical Sri Lankan ingredients and, at the champagne reception, showed a film that presented some of the tourist attractions of the beautiful island in the Indian Ocean that he represents here. more..

Sri Lanka gets EU council nod for GSP+

May 12 (FT) The European Union has formally restored the GSP+ concessions to Sri Lanka seven years after key beneficiary access to the country’s biggest export market was suspended. Govt’s Information Department said European Union (EU) Foreign Affairs Council had approved GSP plus for Sri Lanka. The EU approval completes the three procedural requirements for Sri Lanka to receives GSP Plus status. more..

Antibiotics sales to be curbed

May 12 (CT) Health Ministry will take stern action against over the counter sales of antibiotics without a medical prescription, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. He said, at the announcement of the National Policy on Antibiotics at the Ministry that antibiotics are used unnecessarily and such usage should be discouraged. "Nearly 13% of health expenditure is on antibiotics. Many developing countries, including Sri Lanka, have begun focusing on reducing the use of antibiotics. more..

Turmoil in NCPC: Some UPFA members to consult Mahinda today

May 12 (Island) A section of UPFA group in the North Central Provincial Council (NCPC) is expected to meet former President Mahinda Rajapaksa today (May 12) in the wake of NCPC Transport and Sports Minister S.M. Ranjith resigning in protest against President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to sack Health and Indigenous Minister K. H. Nandasena. Joint Opposition sources said that UPFA-run NCPC had been plunged into turmoil due to sacking of the Rajapaksa loyalist. more..

Sri Lanka seizes Rs 2 billion worth heroin in massive raid

May 12 (Island) Less than 48 hours after heroin dealers killed a Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) officer at Piliyandala, a special team of police recovered 198 kilos of heroin with a street value of about Rs. 2 bn, during a raid at Muthupanthiya in Chilaw police division. Police arrested the major heroin smuggler, who was to move the consignment of the narcotic in an SUV to Colombo. He is a resident of Kalubowila. more..

Retired SSP found dead, wife unconscious

May 12 (Island) Police found the body of retired SSP Susantha de Silva (68) in his residence at Fifth Cross Street, Ratnarama Road, Hokandara South yesterday. Thalangama police entered the house after some neighbours alerted the local police to a stench emanating from the house. The police have found former policeman’s wife, 68-year-old Wijesiri Niranjala also on the floor in an unconscious state and rushed her to hospital. The couple had moved there about 13 years ago and more..

Modi meets Rajapaksa

May 12 (Hindu) In an apparently unscheduled, late night meeting, PM Narendra Modi met former President Rajapaksa on Thursday. The meeting was at the ex-president's request,  Indian HC Taranjit Singh Sandhu said. The meeting comes ten days after a MP close to Mr. Rajapaksa called for a black flag protest around Mr. Modi's visit. Mr. Rajapaksa has earlier blamed India for his defeat in the Jan 2015 presidential polls, but in a recent media interview said that he admired Mr.  Modi. more..

Under pressure President says no to Modi

May 12 (EN) President Maithripala Sirisena has ruled out any bilateral talks with Indian PM Narendra Modi during his overnight visit in an apparent bid to deflect criticism from his nemesis Mahinda Rajapaksa. Sirisena's office released a speech he had made Wednesday rejecting accusations that Modi's visit was aimed at securing concessions for a business deals for Indian companies in the island. more..

Prez hosts dinner in honour of Indian PM

May 12 (PSL) President Sirisena hosted a dinner in honour of the Indian PM Narendra Modi, who visited Sri Lanka to participate at the inauguration ceremony of the Int'l Vesak Festival as the Chief Guest, at the President’s House in Colombo, today (11). PM Ranil Wickremasinghe, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, Leader of the Opposition, R. Sampanthan, Chief Minister of the Northern Province, C.V. Vigneswaran, Ministers Mangala Samaraweera, Wijeyadasa Rajapakse, more..

Accused wife killer, set free on trial delays, ready to be deported to Sri Lanka

May 12 (TS) The first murder suspect in Quebec to be set free after the length of his criminal proceedings exceeded the legal limit told immigration and refugee authorities Thursday he wants to be deported back to Sri Lanka. Sivaloganathan Thanabalasingam, a refugee from Sri Lanka who was charged with murdering his wife, told the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada during his detention hearing he no longer fears returning to his home country. more..

Sri Lanka rejects Chinese request for submarine visit

May 12 (Reuters) Sri Lanka has rejected China's request to dock one of its submarines in Colombo this month, two senior govt officials said on Thursday as the Indian PM Narendra Modi landed in the island nation. SL last allowed a Chinese submarine to dock in Colombo in Oct 2014, a move that triggered fierce opposition from its northern neighbour India, which worries about growing Chinese activity in a country it has more..

Turn holidays into holy days

May 12 (DM) For the first time, UN celebrated Vesak 2017 in SL with the highlight being the three-day int'l conference attended by representatives from some 85 countries. As we stressed yesterday, significantly the theme was a peaceful and just society. For sustainable reconciliation, peace and justice, all-religions activist Dr. L.A.W. Sirisena has made some proposals to the govt. According to Dr. Sirisena and -- most people would agree with him -- Sri Lankans get too many holidays. more..

Mullivaikkal Day: To commemorate or not to

May 12 (DM) At times, there is a huge difference between the choice of issues by the Tamil and the other two national language media. This disparity is evident in handling issues related to the rights of the Tamil people including their agitations, with Tamil media, particularly newspapers, giving wide coverage to those concerns, while Sinhala and English media are overlooking them totally. It is surprising to note that Sinhala and English media have been completely indifferent about more..

Police warn riders harassing female drivers

May 12 (SL) Police have warned riders who harass female drivers on the road and also urged the women to file complaints with the police or Women and Children’s Bureau. DIG Ajith Rohana said that it is a sexual crime to harass a woman and legal action can be filed against the accused. Last week at least two young women took to social media to expose men on motorbikes who had harassed them on the streets. more..

CPC plans initial upgrade of sole refinery

May 12 (Reuters) The State-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corp (CPC) is planning an initial upgrade of its decades-old refinery to produce better grade motor fuels and increase its capacity in a move expected to cost nearly $ 100 million dollars. The refinery was originally configured to run on Iranian crude and Sri Lanka had to import more refined oil products after US sanctions caused it to stop crude imports from Iran in 2012. more..

Rail commuters vent fury against politicians and unions

May 12 (ST) Angry commuters railed against the malfunctioning political establishment and unions that are continuing to agitate for demands, frustrated by the let down on Friday. The overstaffed, politicised railway, which is incurring billions in losses, and the main doctors’s group halted work on Friday to demand the continuation of state pensions, nationalisation of the SAIT, and the repeal of the controversial ETCA with India. more..

Meethotamulla victims not paid compensation month after tragedy: lawyer

May 12 (Island) Nearly a month after Meetotamulla garbage dump tragedy, govt and the affected community hadn’t been able to reach an agreement on compensation to families of those buried alive on April 14, attorney-at-law Nuwan Bopage said. The civil society activist accused the govt of dragging its feet much to the consternation of affected residents. They hadn’t been paid compensation yet due to govt’s more..

'Rajitha knows decayed teeth, not about oil tank farm'

May 12 (LT) Trade unions in Petroleum Corporation actively struggle against handing over oil tank farm to Indian Oil Company. Our protest is not on whether they are given to India, China or any other. Our stand is the oil tank farm that, built in 1930s, should be handed over to CPC and the country could earn a good income. In 2003 an MoU was signed to hand over the 99 tanks that are left of the 102 tanks to IOC. more..

Air India to fly direct from Varanasi to Sri Lanka's Colombo from August: Modi

May 12 (EN) Air India will operate direct flights between Colombo and the Buddhist pilgrim site of Varanasi in India from August this year, Indian PM Narendra Modi said. The direct flights will ease travel to the land of the Buddha “for my brothers and sisters from SL, and help you directly visit Sravasti, Kusinagar, Sankasa, Kaushambi and Sarnath,” Modi said. “My Tamil brothers & sisters will also be able to visit Varanasi, more..

Supreme Court suspends Appeal Court’s judgment on Geetha’s MP seat

May 12 (AD) The Supreme Court has suspended the Appeal Court’s judgment regarding MP Geetha Kumarasinghe’s eligibility to hold a seat in parliament, till the 15 of May.  Appeal Court has put forward the fact that Kumarasighe’s MP position violates a clause in the country’s constitution which states that dual citizenship holders will not be allowed to hold position in Parliament.  Furthermore, more..

What did Mahinda Rajapaksa discuss with Indian PM Narendra Modi?

May 12 (AD) A hastily arranged meeting between visiting Indian PM Narendra Modi and former President Rajapaksa last evening raised huge speculation within political circles in Colombo. This was more since official from both sides had continued to maintain that Modi’s visit to Colombo had no economic or political objectives. In the words of Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Indian HC, “There are no economic or political objectives more..