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Rajinikanth evades questions on SL Tamils

May 18 (ANI) Refraining from commenting on any issue related to Sri Lankan Tamils, superstar Rajinikanth on Thursday evaded question on Mullivaikkal Remembrance Day, which is observed by SL Tamils. The day is regarded by Sri Lankan Tamils as a remembrance for those, who died in the final stages of SL Civil War. Earlier in March, Rajini called off his proposed visit to Sri Lanka to inaugurate a housing scheme more..

Mark May 18 as day of grief, Tamils told

May 18 (Hindu) Tamils living in Sri Lanka and abroad should mark May 18 as a day of grief, Northern Province CM C.V. Wigneswaran has said, ahead of Remembrance Day being observed on Thursday. He appealed to all Tamils to observe three minutes’ silence on the day SL’s civil war ended eight summers ago. “The truth about the several thousand deaths in the war’s final offensive is yet to come out” he said. more..

Debt Trap

May 18 (CT) According to Central Bank last year's annual report, released recently, the rupee value of the Govt's foreign debt stock as at end last year stood at Rs 4,045,796 million. Of this number, what Sri Lanka owes to China amounted to Rs 374,020 million or 9.24% of Govt's total foreign debt. Chinese debt stock comprised borrowings direct from Beijing, coupled with borrowings from Export-Import Bank of China (China EximBank) which is also controlled by Beijing. more..

Occasional Stories: Mr Chalo!

May 18 (CT) This happened a long time back when I was a first-year university student in 1965. I was involved in radical left politics at that time and used to support the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) revolutionary wing which broke away from the mother party in 1964. The breakaway group was led by people like Edmund Samarakkody, Bala Tampoe, Merrill Fernando and V. Karalasingham. The party was called the LSSP(R). I was keenly enthusiastic about the prospects of the coming revolution more..

Maj Gen Sudatha Ranasinghe & Ralph Nugera

Sri Lanka to develop Hummanaya blowhole as a tourist attraction

May 18 (GDI) Steps will be taken to develop Hummanaya as a tourist attraction site said State Minister Dilip Wedaarachchi. He said about this development project at a meeting held at the Tangalle Divisional Secretariat District Secretariat made these comment on 16th May. Minister Vedaarachchi said that under the program Balagathu Srilankavak the south will be developed as a tourism zone and the meeting was attended by  officials of Coast Conservation Department, more..

One year hard labour for five Tigers found guilty of planning bomb blast

May 18 (Island) Five LTTE cadres indicted for planning to blast an electric transformer at Madawala Bazaar in Wattegama police division in May 2008 were found guilty and sentenced to one year jail term with hard labour by Kandy High Court II Judge Sarath Kumara. The five youth of the age group of 23 and 25 years were arrested by I. P. Sunil Yatawara, O.I.C. Anti-Terrorism Operations Unit at the time in the Central Province. The suspects were arrested on May 25, 2008. more..

No move to form a brigade to suppress strikes: President

May 18 (DM) A cabinet reshuffle, setting up a special authority to suppress strikes, disciplinary action against SLFPers who attended the Galle Face rally, controversy surrounding Minister Rajitha Senaratne’s title as cabinet spokesperson and an imminent referendum; these were some of the pertinent questions raised during a discussion held with President Sirisena recently. Q: There were reports hinting of a cabinet reshuffle before more..

8 arrested U'grads remanded till tomorrow

May 18 (NR) Seven university students and a Buddhist monk who were arrested by police on the charges of violating a Court order and behaving in an unruly manner during the protest staged in Colombo last evening against the SAITM, have been remanded till tomorrow. The order was issued by the Colombo Chief Magistrate Lal Ranasinghe Bandara. Suspects were arrested by Cinnamon Gardens Police. Police yesterday fired tear gas at the group of protesting university students more..

Cabinet reshuffle likely tomorrow

May 18 (AM) A prominent Minister representing the UNP has informed the party leadership that he will become a backbencher if the govt changes his ministry at the proposed Cabinet reshuffle. Minister also holds a senior positions in the UNP. He has informed the President and the PM that he does not wish to handle any other ministry. President and the PM, however, have not given a direct reply to the Senior Cabinet Minister's demand, informed political sources said.  more..

Video: Building collapses in Wellawatta

May 18 (AD) A building has reportedly collapsed in the Wellawatta area injuring more than 20 individuals. A building located near Savoy Cinema on Charlemont Road in Wellawatta had collapsed and that several persons have been injured. At least 14 persons injured due to the building collapse have been admitted to the Kalubowila Hospital while another 7 have been admitted to the Colombo national Hospital. more..

SL to sign air service agreement with Canada

May 18 (DN) The Cabinet has approved an air service agreement between Sri Lanka and Canada on Tuesday. The Cabinet approved a proposal submitted by Civil Aviation and Transport Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva for an air service agreement between the two countries which has been agreed at official level. Transport and Civil Aviation Ministry sources said that no such agreement is in force between the countries though a large number of Sri Lankans are living in Canada. more..

Madras HC adjourns Rajiv killer Murugan's plea to meet his mother

May 18 (DNA) Madras High Court on Wednesday adjourned a plea of V Sriharan alias Murugan, one of the seven life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, seeking permission to meet his mother in prison. He had sought permission to meet his mother, who has come from Sri Lanka on April 2, on any day between May 22 and May 27. A vacation bench of Justices R Mahadevan and M Govindaraj refused to entertain and adjourned the petition of Murugan, after summer vacation. more..

Snowden lashes out at Hong Kong for rejecting refugees

May 18 (AFP) Fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden hit back at the Hong Kong govt Thursday for rejecting the protection bids of a group of refugees who sheltered him while he was hiding out in the city. The impoverished Philippine and SL refugees helped the former National Security Agency contractor evade authorities in 2013 by hiding him in their cramped homes after he initiated one of the largest data leaks in US history. more..

GMOA to strike on Monday against the arrest of eight IUSF protesters

May 18 (DN) The GMOA said that a strike will be launched on May 22 from 8 a.m. till 12 noon against arresting the eight IUSF protestors. Yesterday, eight undergraduates including a Buddhist Monk who behaved unlawfully at the IUSF protest in Town Hall, were arrested by Police. The demonstration was staged defying the court ruling issued on May 16, banning the protest. Tear gas and water cannons to were used to disperse the protesters who blocked roads and caused traffic jams, more..

Germany to provide special Ambulance service to Sri Lanka

May 18 (NR) Several Private German organisations have expressed their approval towards supporting the establishment of a new free ambulance service in Sri Lanka, which will operate on land and in the air. The proposal was made during a meeting with German state officials, representatives of World Bank and Minister Rajitha Senaratne. Accordingly the representatives had pledged to provide 4 Helicopters, 1050 Ambulances and 240 emergency vehicles for the relevant ambulance service. more..

Counsel faults voter registration bill as favouring N&E provinces

May 18 (FT) Senior Counsel Manohara de Silva yesterday submitted in the Supreme Court that the bill titled Registration of Electors Special Provision Act treats persons who have been residing in the Northern and Eastern provinces differently to those from any other part of the country, violating the right to equal protection by the law. The application seeking a Supreme Court Special Determination yesterday came up more..

Fundamental Rights petition challenging COPE report re-fixed for support

May 18 (DN) Fundamental Rights petition filed by Ven. Thiniyawala Palitha Thero challenging the various findings and statements made in a report prepared by the COPE regarding the bond issues of the Central Bank was re-fixed for support on Sep 8 by Supreme Court today. When the petition came up before three-judge-bench headed by Justice Buwaneka Aluvihare, Court was informed that several COPE committee members were yet to appear in Courts as respondents. more..

Govt has turned back on public who voted for them: IUSF

May 18 (DM) Overruling the opinion of the majority, unity govt was continuing the former regime’s agenda of privatizing state education and the health sector, IUSF said yesterday. Addressing the media following a major protest in front of the Viharamahadevi Park, IUSF Convener said the govt was making the same mistake as the former regime however in a more speedy and arbitrary manner. “Govt is carrying out its own agenda with regard to the SAITM by ignoring public opinion. more..

BBS discusses communal reconciliation with Mano Ganesan

May 18 (FT) BBS General Secretary Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero met Minister Mano Ganesan yesterday to discuss reconciliation between all communities of the country.  Gnanasara Thero has stressed the importance of harmonious relations among all ethnicities and religions, especially between the Sinhalese and Tamils since the country was in a post-war period. Referring to a number of incidents during the recent past more..

US, SL Navies hold 2nd edition of Staff Talks

May 18 (SLN) The second edition of Staff Talks between the high - ranking officers of the US 7th Fleet and SL Navy was held at the Naval Headquarters on 16th and 17th of May 2017. The SLN delegation was led by Director General Operations of the SL Navy, Rear Admiral Piyal De Silva and their US counterparts were headed by Captain Brian Anderson of the 7th Fleet, at the second edition of these discussions. The discussions highlighted the importance of more..

Potta Naufer’s second wife, son arrested

May 18 (DM) The second wife and son of notorious underworld gangster M.N. Naufer alias Potta Naufer, were among five people arrested by the STF today while attempting to smuggle 609 grams of gold to India. The STF said the suspects were arrested at the airport exit on the Katunayake Expressway after receiving a tip off. Sources said three suspects, Naufer's 50-year-old wife, another woman and a man were on their way to the airport to board a Mumbai flight when more..

SL: Conflict’s legacy of impunity endures

May 18 (AI) On the eighth anniversary of the end of SL’s decades-long conflict, Amnesty International calls on the govt to repeal the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and ensure that any legislation it introduces to replace it meets international standards.  Failure to repeal the notorious law is one of several commitments that the govt has stalled on since coming to power two years ago, when it pledged to deliver truth, justice more..

‘SAITM issue, a ruse to topple govt’

May 18 (DN) The protest against the SAITM is not with the aim of abolishing the institution but a ruse to topple the govt, SAITM Parents’ Association President Gemunu Wijeratne said. Wijeratne requested these forces not to use the SAITM issue to satisfy their narrow political desires. Wijeratne pointed out that solutions for the SAITM medical graduates were only limited to newspaper advertisements and that the responsible parties have not put them into execution. more..

Army engage in Wellawatte rescue operations

May 18 (SLA) Troops of the 14 Division under command to the Security Force Headquarters - West (SFHQ-West) who promptly rushed to Wellawatte where a five-storeyed building under construction has collapsed mid-noon today, injuring more than 20 people, are currently engaged in rescue and evacuation operations under the close supervision of Major General Ralph Nugera, General Officer Commanding (GOC), 14 Division. Alert to the sudden accident, Lieutenant General more..

Sri Lanka says no to remembrance of dead Tamils at monument

May 18 (AP) A SL court has barred activists from holding a civil war commemoration near a monument to ethnic Tamils killed in the fighting, but said Tamils could hold memorial events in a nearby church. Anti-war activists plan to mark Friday's eighth anniversary of the war's end in Mullivaikkal village, where hundreds of thousands of civilians were trapped in May 2009 as Tamil Tigers mounted their last stand against govt troops. more..

Cowboy monks & A cowardly presidency

May 19 (CT) The detestable behaviour of a minority element within the Buddhist priesthood in Sri Lanka is an extremely worrying phenomenon, in that, if it is allowed to grow unchecked by the authorities will certainly drag the country into another quagmire of ethnic violence and bloodshed. It is an open secret that there are certain political factions in the country that are backing these cowboys in saffron robes. I reminded in an earlier piece which I contributed to this journal that when more..

Dual citizens still in legislature !

May 19 (CT) Ms Geetha Kumarasinghe MP (status quo restored by virtue of the stay order) exercised her right to appeal had obtained a stay order of the operation of Court of Appeal judgment, disqualifying her to be a member in violation of the provisions enshrined in the supreme law – constitution, which she and all MP’s have taken an oath to uphold. Whist respecting her right to appeal and bowing to the Supreme Court’s ruling to grant leave to proceed and issue a stay order of the operation more..

'Cabinet reshuffle is to remove naughty boys'

May 19 (CT) Govt is trying to redeem its tarnished reputation by whitewashing it through a Cabinet reshuffle; said UPFA MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage. Aluthgamage who is a member of the JO from the SLFP noted that the incumbent govt has gained unpopularity as the ministers were unnecessarily taxing people and stealing from the public. He asserted that the Cabinet reshuffle was to remove certain naughty boys like FM Ravi more..

School tournaments need better planning

May 19 (CT) After focusing our attention on the international scene this week my attempt is to talk about the cradle of cricket in Sri Lanka which is school cricket. Sometimes I wonder what really ails a system that was considered one of the best, if not the best in the world, especially in the 60s and 70's and possibly in the 80s. Schoolboy cricketers in this country could have rubbed their shoulders with the very best in the business and defeated them more often than not. more..

Fire-breathers’ dishonest attempt

May 19 (CT) "Wherever the reasons emerged and then started evolving, Sri Lanka saw unnecessary developments that could have been easily avoided if the people of this Nation had truly honest and compassionate politicians who had the courage and vision to stand for what was right. Instead, we had a set of English speaking and highly Westernized set of politicians who came either from some high class families or from the affluent new merchant class that emerged in Sri Lanka. more..

Get the balance right!

May 19 (DN) Getting involved in activities outside the classroom gives students greater opportunities to develop character, critical thinking skills, social skills, and talents. The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award equips young people for life and work. It emphasizes that not all learning happens in the classroom. Young people need experiences outside the classroom to become committed, responsible and fulfilled citizens of the world. Two students of Gothami Balika Vidyalaya, more..

SAITM: Compromise formula for a peaceful settlement

May 19 (Island) SAITM issue is still at a stalemate. Public protests, student and trade union demonstrations are gathering momentum. We note that Department of Govt Information has published its policy position with respect to Higher Education and to Medical Education in particular. It states: "The private sector is being encouraged to set up quality higher education institutes under govt supervision. The govt’s position is that all such institutes should be managed by a Board of Governors more..

JVP Press Conference: Abolish SAITM

Money from Panama and Latvia in Udayanga’s accounts

May 19 (Island) Today, anything that the public sees in the media about the MiG deal, would invariably centre around Udayanga Weeratunga. In the past months and weeks, the media has reported that Weeratunga had 16 bank accounts in SL (which have since been frozen) with total deposits equivalent to about USD 1.5 million. According to a recent report FCID has claimed that money was credited to these accounts more..

India offers Ayush Scholarships to SL students for higher education

May 19 (IHC) High Commission of India Colombo announces scholarships to Sri Lankan nationals under the Ayush Scholarship Scheme for UG/PG/PhD courses in Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy for the academic year 2017-18. Govt of India selects meritorious SL nationals for award of these scholarships in consultation with Ministry of Higher Education, SL. These scholarships cover full tuition fees and a monthly sustenance allowance for the entire more..

Editorial: WannaCry

May 19 (Island) One may have thought the erratic behaviour of US President Donald Trump and North Korean President Kim Jong Un was the biggest problem the global community was faced with. True, if the two leaders translate their rhetoric into action the world might witness a nuclear winter sooner than feared. But, besides the scares they give the world from time to time, there has emerged another threat of global scale––WannaCry. It may not cause death and devastation as such, but more..

Govt messing maize supply

May 19 (FT) Govt’s mismanagement of the maize supply has seriously impacted the feed milling and poultry industry, a top firm has revealed. Ceylon Grain Elevators said decreased yield in local maize cultivation and import constraints imposed by the Govt have resulted in an increasingly tight market and have pushed the price of local maize up by over 20% in the first quarter of this year. It said the production shortfall and import restrictions more..

SL Tourism: Demand & supply mismatch

May 19 (Island) Since (PATA), Pacific Area Tourism Association’s annual conference will take place in Negombo during 18-21st May, bringing in to the country hundreds of tourism experts, this may be an appropriate time to review the high priority assigned by the Govt to tourism development in SL, and assess the challenges confronting the plan to attract 2.5 million visitors to the country and increase tourism earnings, being one of the three highest foreign exchange revenue sources, more..

Discord, brewing up

May 19 (DN) The arena of Sri Lankan politics could be accused of many lapses, but it can never be blamed for being dull and tedious. This week, even as UPFA MP Geetha Kumarasinghe was battling in Supreme Court to save her seat, the theatre of conflict shifted to the provinces. Kumarasinghe was granted temporary relief by the highest court in the land. A three judge bench, by a majority verdict, granted her leave to appeal to challenge the verdict of Court of Appeal unseating her because more..