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New Year gift to North: Army to free 650

Apr 8 (ST) As a New Year Gift to the people in the North, the Army is releasing 650 acres of privately owned lands in the High Security Zone (HSZ), including lands in Palali in the Valikamam North DS Division in Jaffna. The lands had been occupied by the security forces since 1990. The 20 km road leading from Point Pedro to KKS, along the coastal area will also be opened to the public from April 16 from 6 am to 6 pm. more..

No strings attached to no-faith vote: TNA

Apr 8 (SO) Debunking the conspiracy theory that the TNA support for the PM at last week’s No Confidence vote had hinged on 10 tough conditions, the country’s main Tamil party said their primary objective in voting against the JO motion was to ensure the continuity of Govt of National Unity, so that it can meet its 2015 pledges of reform and democratisation. TNA Spokesman M.A. Sumanthiran said TNA had merely more..

National Aluth Sahal Mangalya held under patronage of President

Apr 8 (PMD) The National Aluth Sahal Mangalya which is known to be most venerated agricultural ritual of Sinhalese was held under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena at the historical Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya in Anuradhapura this morning. The event had been organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Agrarian Services for the 51st time under the guidance of Chief Incumbent more..

Soil excavation racket continues in Minuwangoda

Apr 8 (SL) A soil excavation racket is continuing in Minuwangoda in collaboration with underworld members and regional politicians. Area residents and others revealed that the racket involves ransom, bribes and threats. The racket, which has been operating for several years, had been highlighted in The Sunday Leader earlier as well. Illegal soil excavation is said to be taking place, largely at Waliya Richard Watta, more..

UNP elects 12-member politburo to finalise party reform by April 30

Apr 8 (SO) The United National Party (UNP) elected a 12-member politburo to finalise internal reforms and restructure and recommend new party office-bearers, following a marathon meeting on party restructure yesterday, Sunday Observer learns. The new politburo will comprise 12 MPs, 10 of whom were elected by secret ballot by the UNP Working Committee and Parliamentary Group which met at Temple Trees yesterday. more..

President, PM in late night talks on coalition future

Apr 8 (SO) PM Wickremesinghe led a UNP delegation for late night talks with President Sirisena at the latter’s Paget Road residence yesterday, to reach a consensus on how to work together in the aftermath of the divisive no-faith vote last week. Accompanying the Premier to the meeting were UNP Ministers Mangala Samaraweera, Malik Samarawickrema, Vajira Abeywardane and Kabir Hashim. The two leaders decided that more..

Avurudu vendors yell for customers but shoppers walk on

Apr 8 (ST) Merchants hoping for Avurudu sales are seeing fewer people at shops and markets, with most spending less time on their shopping, turned off by rising prices, the unusual heat and less buying power. Vendors compete with each other for customers, crying out their wares and prices, but with little success. N. Yoganathan, a wholesaler who imports large onions from India and sells them at Rs. 42.50 per kilo, said retail shops are not more..

Cabinet reshuffle before Sinhala and Tamil New Year

Apr 8 (AD) President and PM have decided to reshuffle the Cabinet before the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said. He stated that the decision was taken by the two party leaders during a meeting held last night. The UNP has officially informed the President that the party is unable to work with the SLFP Ministers and MPs who voted in favour of the no-confidence motion against the PM. more..

Publish and be damned

Apr 8 (CT) An important essence of being a leader is to listen to the collective voice of his/her people. People, as in the wider context and not those who are closest to you politically. Access to persons who can express the mood of the public without expectation or fear of losing privilege is paramount. President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe seemingly do not have such people at hand. Or deliberately fails to listen if there are such people for reasons of their own. more..

The Prime Minister – Irremovable

Apr 8 (CT) According to Mr. Shaymon Jayasinghe, an Australian citizen, there is no provision in the Sri Lanka constitution to remove or replace the PM once appointed. Whatever is spelled out by interpretations of the constitution, there is no doubt that the entire democracy would be shocked by his revelation that there is no provision for the removal of a person from a position by the appointing authority. Before we examine the veracity of the isolated constitutional aspects more..

Rajanganaya: Farmers’ battle-cry for water

Apr 8 (SO) In 1966, when R.K.H Munidasa arrived in rural Rajanganaya he had high hopes of becoming a land-owning farmer. Aged just 18, he was one of 249 youth who moved to the remote area in the Anuradhapura District, accepting an offer made by the govt of Dudley Senanayake which was aiming to create an agri-revolution in the country while also providing employment to youth. more..

Sri Lankan youth and their new discontents

Apr 8 (SO) Sri Lanka is very young. Almost a quarter of the population is between ages 15-29 and nearly half the population is under 30. In the short post-independence history of this country there have been three youth-led insurgencies –in the south as well as in the north-east. While there are crucial differences between JVP insurgents and Tamil militants, common factors such as diminishing options for social mobility, degrading economic conditions, and a growing distrust against more..

When absurdity becomes insanity in Sri Lanka’s parliament

Apr 8 (ST) A crude bid to capture national political power by the so-called JO, disgracefully aided and abetted by a section of Prez Sirisena’s SLFP failed this week. Given the political configurations on the floor of the House, perhaps this failure was inevitable but nothing is certain after all, in this dirty, rotten game of scoundrels beating their chests like patriots, as they say. If this plot had succeeded, the consequences for national stability are too catastrophic to contemplate. more..

'There are no political parties but political gangs'

Apr 9 (CT) Senior Lecturer at the Univ of Colombo Dhamma Dissanayake says that politicians in Sri Lanka are not professionals. “Politics in Sri Lanka has become a zone for those who cannot become professionals. There are no parties in Sri Lanka, only gangs”. Q: How do you view the incidents that took place in Teldeniya? A: The clash at Teldeniya was not the first attack on a certain ethnic group. more..

UNP and SLFP Transition Blues- I

Apr 8 (SO) Amidst so many stories about the ever - exciting twists and turns in the crisis faced by our Govt, we seem to ignore so many other significant political questions. One such question is: what is happening in SL’s political parties? As visible from the unfolding power struggles, SL’s two main parties – the UNP and the SLFP – are in crisis, awaiting a re-invention for their survival. Meanwhile, a new party -- SLPP – has emerged, posing a serious existential threat to the SLFP more..

A reprieve not a win: Ranil’s Dunkirk

Apr 9 (Island) A huge banner on the perimeter fence at Sirikotha - UNP headquarters Sirikotha’ gloats Maha Balayak Ekama Ratak A colossal force – One country. Hannah Arndt comes to my mind. Truthfulness has never been counted among the political virtues and lies have always been regarded as justifiable tools in political dealings." Ranil did not win. He got a reprieve. In the temple of democracy On Wednesday, in the temple of democracy, fiction eclipsed fact. Truth turned tentative. more..

BOC සල්ලි වලින් රට සවාරි යන කිරිඇල්ල අප්පෝ

Joint Opposition makes PM the nation’s new Avurudu Kumaraya

Apr 8 (ST) Ten days before the dawn of the Sinhala and Hindu New Year, the Mahinda Rajapaksa-led JO gave PM Ranil Wickremesinghe their New Year gift to him well in advance. They made him the nation’s new Avurudu Kumaraya, the new New Year Prince of Lanka, albeit unwittingly. Last week on Easter Sunday they had planned to crucify him on the cross of the no-confidence motion they had presented to parliament last month and which was taken up for debate and vote this Wed (4). more..

Editorial: They are coming!

Apr 9 (Island) Police Spokesman SSP Ruwan Gunasekera, on Saturday, true to form, waxed eloquent, on what he called action, so far taken, to arrest the members of an underworld gang, whose boss is operating from overseas. All Sri Lankan criminals, on the run abroad, would be arrested and brought back, the SSP declared. Police deserve praise for the recent arrests and it is hoped they will succeed in catching the criminal masterminds who have fled the country. more..

Sri Lanka’s classic culinary combinations

Apr 8 (Roar) Sri Lankans are foodies who take pride in the tantalizing food combinations the island has to offer. With a diverse palette that craves anything incredibly spicy to a sugar rush, Sri Lankan taste buds are made for good food at all times. Be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Sri Lankans consume hearty meals that are savored to the fullest. While not all food pairings go well together some are must-try’s that you would not regret. more..

Consumer authority to nab errant traders

Apr 9 (GDI) Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) has taken measures to carry out special raids to nab errant traders throughout the country during the upcoming New Year festive season, CAA Chairman Hasitha Tillekeratne said The Chairman said that the Consumer Affairs Authority has deployed special teams to raid errant traders to prevent irregularities in the sale of essential foods, clothing, household equipment and electrical equipment during the New Year festive season. more..

IGP sets April 10 deadline for Kandy probes

Apr 9 (SO) The IGP Pujith Jayasundara has ordered all investigations in to the recent clashes leading to unrest in Kandy should conclude by April 10 (Tuesday). According to Police spokesperson SP Ruwan Gunasekara all investigations files relating to the incident will have to then be forwarded by relevant Officers in Charge to the IGP by April 15. “The files will thereafter be handed over to the Attorney General’s Department for further action” SP Gunasekara said. more..

Sri Lanka loses to Indonesia, demoted to Davis Cup Group-III

Apr 9 (DN) Sri Lanka will play in the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group III in 2019 as they lost their relegation tie against Indonesia 3-1 at the Sri Lanka Tennis Association Clay Courts yesterday. As visitors won two singles and the doubles rubber to claim the tie win, the remaining singles rubber did not play yesterday. Harshana Godamanna kept Sri Lakan hopes alive winning the second singles against David Susanto 6-3, 6-1 on Saturday more..

Minority shareholders shoot down BoC property subsidiary’s delisting move

Apr 9 (FT) Minority shareholders of Bank of Ceylon’s subsidiary Property Development Plc (PDL) last week achieved a major victory by shooting down the delisting move at the Extraordinary General Meeting for want of a fairer price. PDL is 95.5% owned by BOC and has the state giant as its tenant along with the head office premises. PDL has 3,386 shareholders owning 4.45%. The EGM was to get a shareholder nod for a delisting offer at Rs. 123 per share. more..

Bowlers dominate pink ball Inter-Provincial cricket

Apr 9 (Island) After high scoring draws in the first round of the Inter-Provincial tournament last week, it was the turn of the bowlers to make an impact as the four day First Class competition turned to pink ball cricket at Suriyawewa and Dambulla yesterday. Playing under lights, Kandy, captained by Niroshan Dickwella in the absence of Angelo Mathews, were bowled out for 270 runs after being put into bat by Colombo at Suriyawewa. Charith Asalanka batting at number three posted a half-century more..

Visa turns 30: Moving Sri Lanka to a cashless society

Apr 9 (SO) Sri Lanka will be moving towards a cashless transaction era enabling it to become a digital economy with Visa, the global leader in digital payments technology supporting this endeavour to boost the country’s e-commerce platform. Visa celebrated 30 years in SL and reiterates commitment to building awareness of digital payments across Sri Lanka. “Over the past 30 years, we have been able to forge strong more..

National Export Strategy next month

Apr 9 (SO) The much awaited National Export Strategy to make SL an export hub and drive exports to the next level will be launched next month, sources from the Export Development Board (EDB), apex body for export development said. NES, a long felt need for the country had been in the back burner far too long. However stakeholders of the national strategy said it is better late than never as SL desperately needs a sound roadmap to remain in a highly competitive global market. more..

Squash saves the day for Sri Lanka

Apr 9 (SO) SL lass Mihilya Methsarani became the only competitor to reach a final of a squash event in a Commonwealth Games. To enter the Plate final of the women’s event she defeated the Kenyan girl Khaalig Nimji in straight sets 3-0. Her victory yesterday (7) makes her go to the history books as the first woman to enter a final of an int'l squash event from SL. She is to meet a competitor from Barbados Meagan Best who managed to enter the final beating Pakistan’s Madina Zafar more..

Anusha creates history: First Lankan woman in C’wealth Games Boxing semis

Apr 9 (DN) Anusha Kodituwakku became the first ever Sri Lankan woman boxer to enter a semifinal in a Commonwealth Games as she beat Cayman Islands’ Brandy Barnes with a technical Knockout in the 45-48 kg weight category quarters at the ongoing XXI Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast yesterday. The only previous boxer to do so was renowned boxer Barney Henricus way back in 1950. more..

UK visa in 24 hours? Yes for Lankans from today at super price

Apr 9 (FT) The opportunity to get a visa within 24 hours for emergency travel to the United Kingdom is possible for Sri Lankans from today but it comes at a premium. The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI),together with VFS Global, last week announced that Sri Lanka had been included for the Super Priority Visa service from 9 April 2018 in recognition of its importance as a source market for visitors. This service was first introduced by the UK in May 2013. more..

Jayanthi first female director in 140 years at Hayleys Plc

Apr 9 (FT) Top professional Jayanthi Dharmasena has become the first female director on the Board of diversified blue chip Hayleys Plc in its 140-year history. Jayanthi, who serves as the Managing Director of Hayleys Agriculture and its subsidiaries and as a Group Management Committee member, was appointed to the Board last week as an Executive Director. Hayleys Plc is controlled by business leader Dhammika Perera. Jayanthi has been a part of Hayleys Group for 26 years more..

Bill to set up Corruption Courts back in Parliament after Avurudu

Apr 9 (SO) The govt will table the Judicature Amendment Bill that aims to set up a special High Court at-bar to try corruption cases soon after the New Year, complete with amendments suggested by the Supreme Court in its determination on the legality of the bill. UNF MP Dr Jayampathy Wickremaratne said that it will be taken up in parliament for the second reading very soon. “Govt would introduce all necessary amendments more..

Inflation seen as spiralling in coming months

Apr 9 (Island) Head, Dept of Economics of the Uni of Colombo, Ven Professor W. Wimalaratana Thero said that SL's inflation will increase in the next few months due to the depreciation of rupee against the US dollar, increase in global oil prices and a reduction in local food production brought about by changes in weather patterns. "Only alternative to control inflation in the country is reducing or adjusting tax/tariff on essential food items and cutting down on unnecessary govt expenses more..

Measures to quell underworld killings: IGP

Apr 9 (DN) Police have taken necessary action to quell the underworld killings reported from various parts of the country, IGP Pujith Jayasundera said. The IGP said wide ranging investigations have also been launched into the activities of the four underworld characters apprehended recently, who had maintained dealings with the two underworld king pins Angoda Lokka and Makandure Madush. “Suspects were arrested in Angoda-Himbutana area in a special raid carried out in the area. more..

Prez plays down bid to oust PM, refers to demand for Japanese leader’s resignation

Apr 9 (Island) President Sirisena urged the media not to get worked up by recent abortive bid to oust PM over treasury bond scams as political leaders world over faced such trouble. He cited recent protests demanding Japanese PM Ashinzo Abe’s resignation, during his state visit to Tokyo, as an example. Sirisena said so in answer to a media query last Friday at a special briefing called by Prez’s Office to explain SLFP leader’s role more..

22 Global reinsurance giants join to provide reinsurance

Apr 9 (CT) SL's only local reinsurance provider, National Insurance Trust Fund (NITF) has successfully concluded the placement of its reinsurance programmes for the current year, NITF Chairman Manjula de Silva said. "There were over 22 global reputed reinsurance giants who have accepted shares under this programme", he said. De Silva said all reinsurers on the panel have ratings of 'A -' and above (except one reinsurer which had a State stake) meeting the requirements more..

Gender-based restriction on women: SC fixes rights petition for 21 May

Apr 9 (DM) Supreme Court fixed for support on May 21 for granting of leave to proceed with the fundamental rights petition challenging the Excise Notification, imposing a restriction on females, allegedly discriminating them. The bench comprised Justices Eva Wanasundera, Nalin Perera and L.T.B. Dehideniya. Women’s rights groups and activists are up in arms lamenting that the impugned notification is an infringement of basic human rights and dignity of women. more..

Authorities had not made any attempt to resolve Uni. non-academic strike: UTAJU

Apr 9 (DM) Higher Education Ministry and the UGC had not made any substantial attempt to resolve month long non-academic strike leading the entire university system in the country to a standstill, University Teachers’ Association of J'pura University (UTAJU) said. In a statement issued by the union had expressed its strong displeasure towards the related authorities for its inefficiency towards resolving the matter. more..

Trip ends in death for five

Apr 9 (DN) A trip by a group of garment factory workers from Hanwella ended in tragedy when five of them were drowned in the Dalukoya, a tributary of the Huluganga in Panwila after wading into it for a bath on Saturday afternoon. They were identified as Shirlene Benz (26) Gajana Sivanandan (26) Fathima Niyaz (23) Mahen Susil Manjula (30) and Priyankara Premakumara (28). They had been carried away by a sudden surge of water in the waterway due to heavy rain experienced in the area. more..

'Removing Ranil as leader never envisaged'

Apr 9 (Island) Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said the removal of UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe hadn’t been envisaged as part of the re-structuring process of the party scheduled to be completed by April 30. He said UNP Working Committee and UNP parliamentary group had on Saturday decided that the leadership should not be changed. He said that according the UNP constitution the UNP member who held the post of either the President of the PM became the ex-officio party leader. more..