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Kandy violence: Three more arrested

May 7 (DM) Three more suspects were arrested by the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) in connection with the recent violence in Kandy. The suspects were arrested on charges of unruly behavior and attack on religious places of worship at Welekade in Ambatenna and Poojapitiya on March 7. The suspects aged 21, 22 and 55 are residents of Kahawatta in Ambatenna and taken into custody on Saturday from their homes and handed over to the Poojapitiya Police for further investigations. more..

UNP dissidents boycott party’s May Day rally

May 7 (Island) A group of UNP dissidents, including ministers and backbenchers, boycotted the party’s May Day rally, yesterday, at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium. UNP MP Ranjith Aluvihare said that he had informed the party that he would not attend the May Day rally because he saw no point in doing so. "I said I couldn’t come because the decisions the party had taken and what it proposed to do in the future were wrong. more..

Video: Terrified politicos trying to create crises within JO: Piyal Nishantha

May 7 (AD) JO MP Piyal Nishantha claims that subordinates of the President and the Prime Minister are in a competition to embezzle and take bribes. He stated that they will use their May Day rally as a protest against corruption as well as force the govt to provide concessions to the public on inflating prices. Commenting on divisions within the Joint Oppositions, he said that there will be only one decision taken as a party despite many having different opinions and everyone would stand more..

Prez appoints tainted politico as STC Chairman

May 7 (Island) Former JVP MP Anuruddha Polgampola, who was compelled to resign, in Sept, 2008 for allegedly helping a person enter Japan, posing as his assistant, was appointed Chairman of the State Timber Corporation (STC) by President Sirisena on Friday (4). The appointment was made within 24 hours after STC Chairman Piyasena Dissanayake was arrested along with Dr. T.H.K. Mahanama, Chief of Staff of Prez Sirisena for allegedly accepting a Rs 20 mn bribe from more..

No need to obtain fresh mandate to abolish executive Presidency: JVP

May 7 (Island) There is no need for a fresh mandate to abolish the executive presidency as people voted on five occasions at presidential elections for the candidates who had pledged to do so in their manifestos, says the JVP. JVP Propaganda Secretary MP Vijitha Herath, said: "Three presidents obtained mandes to abolish the executive presidency. People voted for the candidate who promised to do so in more..

UNP MP complains of highway robbery by Ministers

May 7 (Island) UNP MP Abdul Rahuman says that some ministers receive Rs. 200 billion per year from the Consolidated Fund to develop their areas, but there is a serious doubt with regard to what happens to those monies. Speaking at a ceremony to mark the opening of a rehabilitated road between Thulaweliya to Kotiyawa linking A'pura East with Medawachchiya, he said he as an MP received Rs 10 million a year from Consolidated Fund to spend on development projects in his electorate. more..

Building of Buddhist temples in North, East: NFF condemns TNA

May 7 (DM) NFF condemned the TNA alleged attempt to halt the construction of Buddhist temples in the Northern and Eastern regions. NFF MP Jayantha Samaraweera said according to media reports the TNA had informed the Unity Govt that it completely opposed the construction of Buddhist temples in the Northern and Eastern areas. He said TNA MP M. A. Sumanthiran had stating to a national newspaper, had vowed that he would never allow constructing Buddhist temples and more..

'Won't allow PM to bring Samurdhi Bank under CB'

May 7 (DM) Former minister S.B Dissanayake said he would never allow PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to vest the Samurdhi Bank under the Central Bank's control. He was responding to a statement made by PM at the UNP May Day rally that the Samurdhi Development Bank would be soon brought under the control of the CB. MP said the Samurdhi Bank which had a capital more than Rs.200 Billion functions under Samurdhi Act, more..

Criminalising Hate Speech: Govt's minority allies seek written assurance

May 7 (DM) Political parties representing the minority communities in the ruling coalition are seeking a written assurance from the govt to conduct the provincial council elections without further delay, far-reaching constitutional amendments and the criminalisation of hate speech, a minister said. Tamil Progressive Party Leader and minister Mano Ganesan said that parties such as the SLMC and the ACMC would seek a written agreement from the govt in this regard. more..

Fielding Maithri as common candidate a grave mistake: SF

May 7 (Island) The UNP had made a grave error by fielding Maithripala Sirisena as the common opposition candidate at the 2015 Presidential Election, Minister Sarath Fonseka said addressing the party’s May Day rally yesterday. "I was the leader of the Democratic Party at that time and before the 2015 election was declared, I met the UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe several times. I told him that he could contest and win the election, but ultimately we chose Maithripala Sirisena. more..

Samurdhi Bank to come under Central Bank

May 7 (CT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday announced that the Samurdhi Community Bank would be brought under purview of the Finance Ministry and the Central Bank, as part of restructuring the Samurdhi programme. Addressing the UNP May Day rally yesterday, UNP Leader Wickremesinghe said that the Finance Minister had been instructed to assign the Samurdhi Bank under the CB. more..

'UNP will begin new journey after today'

May 7 (NR) Minister Harin Fernando says with the May Day celebrations the UNP will begin a new journey. Speaking during the UNP May Day celebrations at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium in Colombo Minister Fernando said the UNP is not a party based on a single person. Minister Harin Fernando said the SLPP is based on former President Rajapaksa while the SLFP is based on President Sirisena. He noted the SLPP and SLFP will not exist without its leaders. more..

Tourism industry welcomes Prez’s directive

May 7 (CT) The tourism industry has welcomed the directive issued by President Sirisena to demolish unauthorized structures in Mirissa and other areas. Minister John Amaratunga said the President’s unwavering stance on the matter has sent a clear signal to those flouting the law to fall in line. “I salute the President for taking this bold decision. It is no secret that powerful personalities were trying to pressurize the President who is the Minister of Environment to suspend more..

UNP will rule for next 20-30 years: PM

May 7 (DN) A UNP which will rule for the next 20-30 years and not just five, was the promise UNP Leader and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe made to his supporters as the party commemorated May Day yesterday. Last week the UNP had taken over the Ministry of Social Empowerment and the PM who had promised quick action noted that they would bring in the Samurdhi Bank under the control of the Finance Ministry and CB to more..

In defence of Executive Presidency

May 8 (CT) It was pointed out in the previous column that allegations against the Executive Presidency are baseless. We posed five questions to the anti-executive Presidency camp. Before discussing any further, let us revisit those five questions. If the Executive Presidency is dictatorial, why has it become the most popular governing method in the world? If the Executive Presidency is oppressive, the USA must be the most suffered nation because it has been under more..

Jokers as politicians and political clowns

May 8 (ST) The mighty deed, they say, has at last been done. The Great Reshuffle is complete. The world saw, turned on its side and sighed, and returned to sleep, tired of SL gimmickry. I remember an old Latin saying which, in English, went something like this — the mountains are in labour and the result is a ridiculous mouse. Since the earth shattering shake-up initiated by the two main prongs of the yahapalana govt last week even the mice, ridiculous or not, have gone into hiding. more..

'Ranil should accept responsibility'

May 8 (CT) State Minister of International Trade, Sujeewa Senasinghe says, We have still not received the expected reforms. Therefore, our battle to achieve that is still operative. Q: A restructuring of the Party was carried out. However, MPs and Ministers of the UNP are not satisfied. You are of the same view too. Will you remain like this or keep fighting? A: We cannot be satisfied with the restructuring of the Party. more..

President Sirisena fulfils his pledge

May 8 (CT) Secretary to the President, Austin Fernando very rightly said that under the Govt of President Maithripala Sirisena, anybody involved in corruption would be punished irrespective of the status of the person or the position he or she holds. Fernando was commenting on the arrest of the Presidential Secretariat’s Chief of Staff, I.H.K. Mahanama and State Timber Corporation (STC) Chairman P. Dissanayake for accepting a bribe of Rs 20 million from an Indian businessman. more..

Need to go beyond using anti corruption as political weapon

May 8 (CT) One of the promises of the govt alliance when they contested the 2015 presidential and general elections was to end corruption. The belief that corruption was deep rooted in the former govt was well entrenched by the time of those elections. The promise to end corruption by the new govt leaders was also believable as both President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe did not come with such baggage. This belief was increased by the immediate passage of the 19th Amendment more..

‘Even though I was sacked, I stuck to my party’

May 8 (SO) The new Higher Education and Cultural Affairs Minister, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe says, he was one of the main persons responsible for ousting former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Govt. He said if he had wished to join former President Rajapaksa again, he would not have left his Govt in 2011 and joined the then Opposition. He said, he is not a person to go after anybody seeking positions, posts or favours, more..

May ape Mahanama!

May 8 (Island) Reports that Prez Sirisena was surprised at the recent arrest of his chosen Chief of Staff, H M Mahanama, and another senior aide, in a multi-million corruption scandal, should not shock the nation. It has been in the making for long, and in every administration for decades now, no questions asked, or no solutions sought to be found. What, however, should surprise the Sirisena camp, though not the necessarily the nation as a whole, is the fact of the President seemingly caught unawares more..

Editorial: When cardboard heroes go places

May 8 (Island) It is said that Anagarika Dharmapala’s dying wish was never to be born again in SL, which he considered a land of ingrates. Quite a few freedom fighters who took on mighty invaders against tremendous odds, risking as they did life and limb, only to be betrayed by their fellow countrymen in the end, may have wished likewise. This may explain why real heroes who are ready to make selfless sacrifices for the country are hard to come by, at present, and cardboard heroes more..

Face the Nation

Implementing an agreed agenda vital to face economic challenges

May 8 (ST) The May Day cabinet reshuffle was not a great leap forward or even a turning of a new leaf. The changes did not inspire much confidence. The expectation of a stronger cabinet has hardly been achieved by the reshuffling of cabinet portfolios. Hopefully, the revised allocation of functions that it is expected to be gazetted would be more rational and enable effective implementation. The long period of indecision and the delay in the formation of a new cabinet and a declaration of policy of more..

Revised ministerial portfolios on the scientific method

May 8 (CT) The Daily Mirror of May 2nd reported that 18 Ministers were sworn in by the President, following a revision of the Cabinet. The Government or more specifically the President declared that the new revision of the Cabinet, this time, will be on a scientific method. Firstly, President’s statement that it will be this time on a scientific method, is an admission that the past allocation of Ministerial Portfolios was not on a scientific method. That is, it was not on rational criteria based on more..

Colombo’s new smart parking meters create a stir

May 8 (SO) A few weeks ago, Rashmini de Silva parked her car near the Savoy Theater in Wellawatte. It was a designated parking lot, though there was no attendant in sight. She did not notice a parking meter either. When she came back after a couple of hours, she was surprised to find a sheet of paper called a parking fee violation affixed to her windshield. About 4 days later, she walked into the car park company and more..

Samurdhi should not be distributed as relief among UNPers, SLFPers: JHU

May 8 (DM) JHU General Secretary and Minister Champika Ranawaka said today the Samurdhi programme should be used to help the poor to come out of poverty rather than a move to distribute relief to UNPers and SLFPers. Speaking at the JHU May Day rally in Colombo, he said even though only 6% in SL was in extreme poverty, one third of the families receive Samurdhi allowance. “We are a middle income country right now. One third of the families receive Samurdhi allowance whereas more..

Sri Lanka takes a concerted effort to expand trade in Pakistan

May 8 (CT) Export Development Board (EDB), under the directive of the Minister of Malik Samarawickrama, arranged for a Pakistani delegation to visit Sri Lanka, following the research done by the Board in 2017, on new opportunities in Pakistan. The mission also focused on maximizing trade under the Pakistan – Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (PSFTA) to achieve the export earnings of US$ 20 billion in 2020. A Business delegation from Pakistan visited Sri Lanka on 26 April more..

Seven Nigerian confidence tricksters arrested; many women among victims

May 8 (Island) Seven Nigerians have been arrested by the CID for cheating Sri Lankans out of large sums of money. CID had arrested the group on Friday (4) in the Hikkaduwa police area. Sri Lankans had parted with large amounts of money with one woman losing Rs. 9 mn to a Nigerian conman. Nigerians had got in touch with Sri Lankans through the Internet, offered them valuable gifts such as gold jewellery, diamonds etc. more..

Central Bank warns any fiscal slippage can lead to a serious economic crisis

May 8 (Island) Although the govt has committed itself to strict medium term budgetary discipline through its Budget 2018 framework, the recent annual report of Central Bank has chosen to send a fresh reminder to the govt that given the current debt dynamics, any potential fiscal slippage can lead to a serious economic crisis. "Fiscal consolidation is invariably politically challenging, particularly in a country like SL which has been characterised by populist policies and an entitlement culture. more..

Ceylon Chamber mission to Saudi Arabia sees positive results

May 8 (Island) SELMO Pvt. Ltd from Sri Lanka signed a financing agreement with the Saudi Export program (SEP) to import raw material related products from Saudi Arabia to Sri Lanka on long term credit basis. This marks the first agreement signed by a Sri Lankan entity with the SEP to obtain the financing line facility, following the business delegation organized by Ceylon Chamber of Commerce to Saudi Arabia in Nov 2017. An agreement of bilateral cooperation between more..

Navin calls to end populist govt. intervention in rubber industry

May 8 (DM) Minister Navin Dissanayake asserted that the populist govt interventions in SL’s rubber industry have indirectly led to subsidization of big businesses as well as to corruption, while emphasising that the price stability of natural rubber should be a key priority for policymakers on par with the increasing productivity, which requires pragmatic decision-making. He said this delivering the keynote address at more..

SL hikes taxes on imported potatoes, onions

May 8 (EN) Sri Lanka has hiked an import tax on potatoes by 10 rupees to 40 rupees a kilogram and on onions by 39 rupees to 40 rupees a kilogram in a bid to give extra profits to the farming lobby. The new so-called special commodity levy are charged with effect from May 02. Sri Lanka's rulers can raise taxes by mid-night gazette while citizens are sleeping without seeking prior approval from the parliaments, an insitution that was originally set up to control arbitrary ruler taxes. more..

Sri Lanka, Serbia to strengthen cooperation

May 8 (DN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said that the time has come for Sri Lanka to revive its friendship with Serbia. PM made these observations when he met visiting Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic at Temple Trees yesterday. Serbian Foreign Minister said that Sri Lanka and Yogoslovia had very close relations during the rule of President Marshal Tito and Serbia being a state of the former Yugoslavia is eyeing to forge more closer cooperation between the two nations. more..

Lester's award stolen by professional thieves

May 8 (DN) Five persons arrested in connection with the theft of the Golden Peacock Award belonging to late veteran SL film maker Dr. Lester James Peries were professional thieves, Police said. In addition to the Golden Peacock Award, Police had found a very expensive phone which was stolen by the same group of suspects from the late film makers house and arrested a sixth suspect who had bought the phone. more..

TID to record Dilum’s statement

May 8 (CT) The Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) yesterday (8), summoned Joint Opposition (JO) Parliamentarian Dilum Amungama, to give a statement regarding the communal violence which erupted in various areas in the Kandy District in March this year. Police Media Spokesman, Ruwan Gunasekara said that according to the evidence they received from witnesses and the investigations conducted, the MP has been summoned to the TID on 10 May at 9 a.m. more..

UAE’s LULU Group to invest Rs. 3 bn in leisure project

May 8 (DN) For the first time in SL one of the world’s fastest growing retailer chains, LULU Group Int'l of UAE, will invest Rs. 3 billion to build a five-star hotel in Colombo and enter the leisure business. LULU group SL Consultant W. P. Perera said that they hope to start construction end of this year and it would be totally foreign funded project.” He said that their main target is to attract up-market clientele and they also would try to get a large share of the expatriate population living in UAE to visit SL. more..

SLFPers who voted for NCM to cross over to Opposition today

May 8 (Island) SLFP Senior Deputy Chairman and former minister W.D.J. Seneviratne has said that the group of SLFP MPs who voted for the no-confidence motion (NCM) against PM will cross over to the Opposition in Parliament today. Speaking at an SLFP meeting, at the New Town Hall in Ratnapura, he said that there was a proposal that all SLFP members should leave the govt and sit in the Opposition. more..

$ 75 m EAP deal struck with $ 35 m initial infusion

May 8 (FT) The long-awaited and crucial deal on EAP Group, linked to the revival of ETI Finance and Swarnamahal Financial Services, has been struck with an investment commitment of $ 75 million (nearly Rs. 12 billion), of which around $ 35 million has been infused initially. The foreign investor consortium, led by the Singapore-registered Blue Summit Capital Management Ltd., has signed a Sales and Purchase Agreement with the Edirisinghe family to divest 100% of EAP Films more..

TISL hails key step in tackling grand corruption

May 8 (FT) Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) in a statement applauded the CIABOC for the swift action taken to apprehend the President’s Chief of Staff I.H.K. Mahanama, and the former Chairman of the State Timber Corporation P. Dissanayaka, on charges of soliciting a bribe and accepting a sum of Rs. 20 million as an advance payment. TISL also believes this sets an excellent example of collaboration between the private sector and CIABOC to counter public sector corruption. more..