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President tells UNF: No military deals with the United States

May 26 (ST) President Maithripala Sirisena last week forbade the UNP-led UNF from signing any defence or security related agreements with the US. He has said that any such agreement would have to receive his approval since he was the Minister of Defence. These instructions were given to Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana soon after the President returned to Colombo from a visit to China last Thursday. Marapana was still in Washington DC discussing more..

Ven. Gnanasara’s release smacks of racism: ULF

May 26 (ST) United Left Front (ULF) has condemned the Presidential pardon granted to BBS General Secretary Ven. Galagoda-Aththe Gnanasara Thera, as an endorsement of racism and an act amounting to contempt of court. Issuing a statement, ULF General Secretary Lal Wijenayaka said the Ven. Gnanasara Thera had been sentenced to 19 years in prison to be served in six years for threatening the Homagama Magistrate and insulting the State’s Counsel inside the Homagama Magistrate’s Court. more..

89 with direct links to 4/21 arrested

May 26 (CT) Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) and the CID have arrested 89 persons, who have had direct contacts with the suicide bombers involved in a multiple attack carried out by the Islamist extremists on Easter Sunday that killed over 250 people and injured over 500. One month since the blasts, there are 89 taken into custody, noted Police Spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekara. He said the other suspects who had been arrested in various parts of the country have been released; more..

Power purchased from Turkish barge sans tenders: CEB

May 26 (CT) Senior officials of the CEB have expressed strong objections to the decision made by Cabinet on 21 May, to purchase 200MW of emergency power from the Turkish Barge-Mounted Power Plant, without any request being made by the CEB. No competitive tenders were called for the purchase of 200MW from the Barge-Mounted Power Plant. The CEB points out the Electricity Act has been violated. According to the SL Electricity Act, power purchase should be made after calling for tenders. more..

Korea to help Sri Lanka digitalize land data

May 26 (EN) Korea's Eximbank will fund a feasibility study to digitalize Sri Lanka's land management systems, which will improve city planning, a statement from the Korean Embassy said. The feasibility study will seek to establish a Land Data Infrasctructure (LDI) and Land Information Service System (LISS) in Sri Lanka through a grant under a technical assistance program. "If implemented, the project will enable the Govt of SL to integrate the land parcel fabrics into LDI & LISS and more..

Cinnamon Life project see costs rise amid delay

May 26 (EN) Cinnamon Life, promoted by John Keells Holdings Plc, said cost were up 10 from the original US$ 805 million and the commercial, hotel and residential development would be completed by 2021. "The date for project completion now takes into account the staggered opening of some elements of the project and completion of all works including the detailed interior design work," Chairman Krishan Balendra told shareholders. "Accordingly, the completion dates of the residential and office more..

Billions in fertiliser subsidy go to wrong pockets

May 26 (ST) Billions of rupees were erroneously credited to the bank accounts of persons who were not farmers under Sri Lanka’s cash transfer scheme for fertiliser and paid out towards untilled paddy lands instead of cultivated ones, the AG’s Department has found. The national auditor also investigated the procurement fiasco that led to severe delays in fertiliser supply in 2017 and 2018. To avert a full-blown crisis, Cabinet authorised an emergency purchase of urea more..

Doctor arrested over suspicious assets handed over to CID

May 26 (AD) The doctor attached to the Kurunegala Hospital, who was arrested over assets earned through suspicious means, has been handed over to the CID. SP Ruwan Gunasekara said that the doctor was handed over to the CID for further investigations. A 42-year-old doctor attached to the Kurunegala Hospital has been arrested over assets earned through suspicious means. Seigu Mohamed Shafi, 42, a resident of Weerasinghe Mawatha in Kurunegala, was arrested by police at his home last night more..

Video: Minister Rishad Bathiudeen gives statement at FCID

May 26 (AD) Minister Rishad Bathiudeen has arrived at the FCID to give a statement regarding alleged financial misappropriation in importing rice for Lanka Sathosa. The FCID is investigating a complaint alleging financial misappropriation when importing 257,000MT of rice for Lanka Sathosa during 2014/15. The minister had reportedly arrived at the FCID to give a statement regarding the allegations at around 10.00 a.m. this morning and is currently still at the premises. more..

Troops hunt those linked to suicide attacks

May 26 (AFP) The military launched a major hunt, on Saturday, for the remnants of the National Thowheed Jamaath, which carried out the Easter suicide bombings, killing 258 people. Several Colombo suburbs were targeted by troops using emergency powers on arrests and detentions adopted after the April 21 attacks. "Special cordon-and-search operations are under way in three areas just outside Colombo," a military official told reporters. more..

Funds worth Rs.one bn in bank accounts of those arrested in Horowpathana

May 26 (AD) It was revealed that there were funds amounting to Rs. one billion in the bank accounts belonging to the five suspects, who were arrested in Horowpathana yesterday on suspicion of having links with the National Thowheed Jama'at (NTJ) and its leader Zahran Hashim, a senior police official said. Among those arrested were a development officer attached to the Horowpathana Divisional Secretariat, a teacher of a govt school in Horowpathana, two teachers of an Arabic college in Kiwulekada more..

China relaxes travel advisory for Sri Lanka

May 26 (PTI) China on Saturday became the first country to tone down its travel advisory imposed on Sri Lanka post the Easter Sunday blasts, in a move that would help in reviving the tourism industry of the island nation hit hard by the terror attack. The move came a day after PM Ranil Wickremesinghe appealed to the international community to lift the travel warnings, assuring that the security situation has improved in the country after the crackdown on Islamist groups and their networks. more..

Cabinet delays tourism PR campaign

May 26 (ST) Delays at the Cabinet to approve a publicity campaign to get the tourism industry back on track have irked an industry that has fewer tourists to welcome as they believe the authorities may have not got their priorities right for a resurgence of the economy. Stakeholders of the tourism industry representing the private sector had a joint meeting at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce on Thursday where key issues were discussed highlighting the need to get more..

SL team plagued by patchy performances

May 26 (CT) A few days ago spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan in an interview with the Mumbai Mirror stated that in order to become a good captain, Dimuth Karunaratne must first get runs. “If you’re nice, it doesn’t follow that you will enjoy the right results. He’s the captain, alright, but first, he must get runs. If he’s unable to make himself count as a batsman, he’ll be a weak leader,” commented Muralitharan. Meanwhile, batting legend Kumar Sangakkara speaking to the media at Lord’s said more..

Brexit’s impact on Sri Lanka could result in positive alternatives

May 26 (Island) The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) convened a seminar on the theme ‘Brexit and its implications to Sri Lanka’, last week. Keynote presenters and the panel discussion that followed reflected the view that the immediate results of the UK’s exit from the EU could mean there were other avenues for trade that could open up for Sri Lanka with other countries in Europe. EU member countries and other European locations with the Euro as their currency offer potential. more..

Central Bank gets tough with Licensed Finance Companies

May 26 (ST) Sri Lanka’s Licensed Finance Companies (LFCs) will face tougher regulations from the Central Bank (CB)’s Monetary Authority with ownership limits, ensuring higher capital adequacy, loan loss provisioning and improved reporting standards. Calling for stakeholder observations, the CB recently released a concept paper introducing ownership limits of the LFCs to 25 per cent within five years, a senior official of the bank said. more..

State mechanism told to get its act together

May 26 (ST) Terror attacks happen everywhere in the world and almost nowhere is safe given the current situation. However it is the way we manage the crisis that will send the right signals to the world. This is what Sri Lanka hasn’t done. A foreign investor told the Business Times recently that the govt hasn’t shown how it can manage the crisis. “We have delayed setting up our operation in Sri Lanka because we don’t have confidence that the govt can come through this situation,” more..

Maharoof: Wesley’s first international star

May 26 (SO) Former SL Test and One Day International player Ferveez Maharoof was yet another promising star to emerge through the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer contest, sponsored by Mobitel. Following the unveiling new millennium stars of the Mega Show with Trinity’s Kaushalya Weeraratne in 2000 followed by Kaushal Lokuarachchi of St. Peter’s in 2001 and Sahan Wijeratne of Prince of Wales in 2002, Wesley College produced its first ever Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in 2003. more..

Don’t deprive Associates World Cup opportunities says Mendis

May 26 (Island) ICC Cricket World Cups over the years have sprung quite a few surprises. There have been several instances of David overcoming Goliath at the sport’s showpiece event. Sri Lanka overcame a star studded Indian side comprising Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar in 1979 and two years later they were granted Test status. Zimbabwe argued their case well in the 1992 edition when chicken farmer Eddo Brandes ran through England’s strong batting unit. more..

Lee confident of Sri Lanka’s chances

May 26 (CT) SL’s 15-a-side Rugby head coach Matt Lee expects his team to go on and win the Asia Rugby Championship ‘A’ Division Tournament which is to be played in Chinese Taipei from 29 May. Lee also thinks that the SL team’s strength is their forwards, who did well in recent times. “I think the strength should be the forwards, and they showed it in Malaysia that they are competitive in set pieces, be it line outs or scrums. So it is about managing how our backs and forwards could combine. more..

Isuru and Gayani clinch race walking titles

May 26 (ST) Isuru Dunukara of North Central Province and Gayani Prathapasinghe of Southern Province clinched the Men’s and Women’s title respectively in the 45th National Sports Festival race walking events worked off in Anuradhapura yesterday. 27-year-old Isuru from SL Army completed the course of 20km with a time of one hour, 38 minutes and 38 seconds. Meanwhile, 25-year-old Gayani also from SL Army, clocked one hour, 54 minutes and 28 seconds to complete the course of 20km. more..

Not my Cup of Tea

May 26 (ST) Weeks after guiding Mumbai Indians to their fourth IPL title–his second in three seasons as head coach, Mahela Jayawardene–the legendary former SL skipper says he declined an offer to be a part of Sri Lanka’s World Cup campaign due to cricket politics. In an Interview he also shares his expert views on SL’s chances, the raw deal Lasith Malinga received and how cricket politics ruined the careers of two promising SL cricketers–Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal. more..

Vandersay says SL will play fearlessly at WC

May 26 (ICC) Jeffrey Vandersay says Sri Lanka will 'go for it' and play without fear to overhaul the odds at the Cricket World Cup. Newly-appointed captain Dimuth Karunaratne embodies the spirit of a squad remodelled for a tilt at a third final appearance in four tournaments. Vandersay, returning to the squad for the showpiece having not featured since October 2017, says his side won't die wondering as they aim to upset the established order again. more..

Indian ‘A’ openers punish Sri Lanka ‘A’ bowlers

May 26 (ST) Indian ‘A’ openers Priyak Panchal and Abhimanyu Easwaran took the Sri Lanka ‘A’ bowlers by the scruff of their neck and gave it a good shake as they amassed 376 for 1 on the first day of their 4-day Test at Belgaum. The visitors had their bowlers with Test match experience. That hardly mattered to the Indian pair to whom the pace of Lahiru Kumara and Vishwa Fernando, and the spin of Akila Dananjaya and Lakshan Sandakan came alike. The two spinners gave away 154 runs in the 30 overs more..

Bathiudeen called Army Commander on the advice of State Defence Minister

May 26 (CT) The Attorney General has directed acting IGP C.D. Wickremaratne to immediately launch a comprehensive criminal investigation against IGP Pujith Jayasundara, former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando and three other officials. This decision was based on two interim reports and recommendations of the board of inquiry, appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena, on the series of incidents connected to the Easter Sunday attacks. more..

Fixing date for No-Confidence Motion more contentious than their debates

May 26 (ST) After heated arguments and even a protest in the Well of the House, the No-Confidence Motion (NCM) on Minister Rishad Bathiudeen will be taken up for debate on June 18-19. Earlier this week, the UPFA mounted a vociferous campaign demanding that the NCM be debated during sittings in the 1st week of June. Leaders of the UPFA’s constituent parties had proposed that it be held on June 6-7, with all motions on the agenda on those dates shifted to June 4. Govt refused, leading to angry exchanges between the two sides. more..

Yahapalanaya govt divided by JO, united by JVP

May 26 (Island) Last week saw the JVP mounting a rescue operation to save the yahapalana govt, which had been divided down the middle by the no-confidence motion (NCM) presented in Parliament by the Joint Opposition. Christian Ministers within the govt were openly expressing views against Minister Baithiudeen. Indeed, divisions had emerged within the yahapalana coalition itself with a section of the TNA also taking a stand against Baithiudeen and publicly expressing their views. more..

SL: Why do sectarian tensions still simmer?

Sri Lanka hockey in a mess

May 26 (SO) Mercantile Hockey Association president Manjula Jayamanne slammed the election committee appointed by the Sports Ministry for allowing district clubs that did not functioned for several years to vote at their recent AGM. Jayamanna said that as a first step they will be seeking an enjoining order against the Committee for accommodating what he called were non-functional clubs. “We have protested that Matara and Ratnapura associations had been accommodated to vote and more..

In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity: Sun Tzu

May (ST) Gnanasara Hamuduruwaney, I thought I must write to you when I heard that you had been pardoned by Aiyo Sirisena. I suppose you must be quite happy, now that you are no longer behind bars, and wearing the saffron robe once more, instead of the infamous prison jumper. Ah, what a change of fortunes this must be for you! We knew something was afoot when we heard that Aiyo Sirisena visited you in the prison hospital, and Bond Ravi and that Governor looking after the Western regions followed soon after; more..

Closer look at the Drone ban

May (CT) Following the deadly Easter Sunday terror attacks, the Civil Aviation Authority of SL (CAASL) announced that the operation of pilotless aircraft; UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles)/ UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) etc, of any description including drones is suspended until further notice. After few weeks of the CAASL’s suspension, Prez Sirisena as the Minister of Defence also issued an Extraordinary Gazette Notification on 13 May suspending the flying of drones or more..

The politics of terrorism

May (ST) Last weekend’s somewhat muted Vesak celebrations resulting from the aftermath of the Easter Sunday bombings and the prevailing uneasiness in the country prevented the 10th anniversary of the defeat of the three decade-long northern terrorism from being given the attention it deserved. Countries that still celebrate the battles of Somme and Gallipoli and Poppy Day in WW I, a war of more than a century ago, and the defeat of Fascism in WW II more than 70 years ago more..

Shirkers!

May (Island) The people are living in fear of being blown to smithereens following the Easter terror attacks though it is being claimed in some quarters that the country is now safe. Nothing is of graver concern to the public, at this juncture, than national security, which is in peril. The situation is so bad that the government has had to extend Emergency. But the members of parliament don’t seem to give a tinker’s cuss about national security. We reported, yesterday, that more..

Rohan Gunaratna debunked?

May (SO) SL born author of several books on terrorism and Singaporean academic Dr Rohan Gunaratna made waves in Colombo this week when he made startling claims at a seminar organised by Gateway College, pointing to the complete collapse of the national security machinery in the country. Delivering the keynote speech at a forum titled Sri Lanka at Cross Roads held at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for Strategic Studies last week, more..

Gnanasara Thera’s release and its implications

May (CT) Controversial Buddhist monk, Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera, received a pardon from President Maithripala Sirisena and walked out of Welikada Prison on 23 May. Thousands, on social media, reacted in jubilation. Yet, the implications of this pardon may have far reaching consequences. Gnanasara Thera, who is also the General Secretary of BBS, was not convicted for spreading communal disharmony, nor was he charged for hate speech, despite his involvement in a number of racially charged incidents, more..

Media incitement is betrayal!

May (SO) The nation’s shopkeepers and manufacturers overall, as well as the tourism industry and other especially affected sectors, are all holding their breath in suspense, waiting to see if and when social calm and stability returns and how soon the economy can recover. The whole nation’s livelihood depends on the quickest possible return to stability after the Easter Sunday bombing terror (our own 04/21). The greater the delay, the greater is the danger of national prosperity slipping away from us. more..

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