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Appointments on hold as proposed NMDRA changes spark intense lobbying

Feb 7 (Island) Moves to initiate top level changes at the National Medicinal Drugs Regulatory Authority (NMDRA) have triggered intense lobbying with the powers-that-be, amidst a clamor by "connected parties" to foist aspirants of their choice to head this powerful body in the pharmaceutical industry, health officials asserted. Dr. Athula Kahandaliyanage and Dr. Kamal Jayasinghe, two respected medical more..

Two baby elephants seized from Weliweriya temple

Feb 7 (SL) Under the instructions of the Attorney General’s CID, the Department of Wildlife Conservation on Friday evening seized two baby elephants from a Temple in Naranwala, Weliweriya. Investigations revealed that the baby elephants were given by the Venerable Kolonnawa Sumanagala Thero and Nirad Roshan alias Ali Roshan, both already facing legal action over having elephants in their possession without valid documents. more..

Yoshitha in a small cell

Feb 7 (CT) It has been quite a week for the Rajapaksas. Within a span of one week three members of the Rajapaksa family were summoned for questioning either by the PRECIFAC or by the FCID. On 30 Jan, Lieutenant Yoshitha Rajapaksa, was arrested by the FCID along with four others in connection with alleged financial irregularities at the Carlton Sports Network (CSN) during the tenure o the previous govt. more..

NPC govt Palihakkara quits office

Feb 7 (CT) The Northern Provincial Council Governor, a renowned diplomat H.M.G.S. Palihakkara has quit office. A spokesman for the Presidential Secretariat said, former Chief Minister of Western Province Reginald Cooray would replace Palihakkara. Palihakkara said that he had decided to retire since the period he had agreed to, with the govt to hold the position had expired, and hence he would be retiring. more..

Poor rubbish collection hatching more dengue menace

Feb 7 (ST) Councils’ failure to collect garbage is worsening the spread of dengue, Central Epidemiological Unit Director Dr. Paba Palihawadana said. About 4,500 dengue cases and eight deaths were reported since early this month. Colombo has the highest dengue population with major breeding spots being Maligawatta West, Cinnamon Gardens, Kirulapone, Bambalapitiya, Wellampitiya, Modera, Mattakkuliya and Punchi Borella. more..

Colombo JMO to submit report on Sicille’s health condition on Monday

Feb 7 (Island) The Colombo Judicial Medical Officer was directed by Fort Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage to submit a report on the health condition of Mrs. Sicille Kotelawala. The Magistrate visited Durdan’s Hospital, where she was warded and ordered the report to be forwarded to court on Monday. A former deputy chairperson of the Ceylinco Group, Mrs. Kotelawala has been placed under CID custody until February 9. more..

If Sushma won’t go to Mangala he will go to her

Feb 7 (ST) Like on the previous occasion there were no lassies in rows, attired in reddai-hettai holding coconut oil lamps and gyrating to the beat of drums at the entrance to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Perhaps that ritual, invented by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, is only for VIP visitors from the US. In what seemed unusual, India’s visiting External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj did not visit more..

Let’s work with PM to pulverise racism

Feb 7 (Island) One swallow does not a summer make, but then a swallow is a swallow (no pun intended). At last the PM lashed out in Parliament on 28 Jan; he should have done it long ago but one has to be thankful that he did take a stand. Will he keep it up? Indications are encouraging; Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero and Yoshitha Rajapaksa are cooling their backsides in the lock up (for a week or two at least), Wasim Thajudeen’s murders may soon be arrested. more..

Blood gets thicker in Colombo, cracked coconut waters flow in Seenigama

Feb 7 (Island) The organizing principles, social structures and superstitions, as well as the modern institutions of Sri Lankan politics have been in raw display over the last few weeks. The roles of religion, kinship, the courts and the media have been clashing and criss-crossing as political manifestations. A former president was publicly distraught over the arrest and arraignment of one of his sons. Another former president’s daughter waded into the fray defending more..

President defends FCID even though SLFP ministers call for its disbanding

Feb 7 (ST) Last Saturday’s arrest of Lieutenant Yoshitha, second son of former President Rajapaksa, continues to reverberate in many quarters. One such instance is the weekly ministerial meeting on Wednesday. Ministers representing the UNP were livid that one of their SLFP colleagues had, wanted the FCID, which made the arrest, disbanded. The previous day, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said what he more..

Mobile phone found in Yoshitha’s possession

Feb 7 (SL) A mobile phone was found in the possession of Yoshitha Rajapaksa at the Welikada Remand Prison. Mobile phone fell from his pocket when he was returning to his cell after he met his father, former President Rajapaksa at the remand prison. However, prison sources said that no action was taken by the officers who accompanied Yoshitha to his cell when the mobile phone fell out. A senior prison official however said he was not aware of such an incident taking place. more..

Eknaligoda’s disappearance: Four more arrests imminent

Feb 7 (SO) The CID investigating journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda’s disappearance, is set to arrest four more Army intelligence personnel connected to the incident in the coming days. Already six people of the Army intelligence unit have been arrested and four others will be arrested based on the analysis of mobile phone data used in the incident. CID has gathered evidence against Army intelligence personnel to charge them with illegal abduction, detention and disappearance of more..

Geneva issue: Govt earmarks 11-member Task Force

Feb 7 (ST) An eleven-member Consultation Task Force will enforce provisions of the US-backed resolution which was jointly sponsored by Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva last year. Its work will be carried out with the help of a UN expert who will arrive in Colombo next week. He is Pablo de Greiff, Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence. more..

Constitutional Reform Committee sittings: Where are the youth?

Feb 7 (SO) Over 1,500 proposals have been submitted to the Public Representation Committee on Constitutional Reforms (PRCCR), Chairman, Lal Wijenayake said. This was the total number submitted as far as written submissions via mail, email, fax, social media, personally handed over to Secretariat and at public sittings in four districts in 12 days. “There was a lack of youth representation at all the sittings. Committee would like to see an increased participation of youth,” more..

UK High Commission clarifies removal of Defence Attache

Feb 7 (SO) The withdrawal of the Defence Attache position from the High Commission of UK in Colombo was due to the review of the UK govt's defence adviser network in its diplomatic missions, UK High Commission in Colombo says in a statement clarifying the interview with High Commissioner James Dauris published in the Sunday Observer last week. High Commission statement says that in the interview, headlined Great expectations, High Commissioner Dauris more..

New CSN scam unveiled

Feb 7 (SO) A senior public official in the ports sector, under the previous govt is under investigation for a massive tax fraud, involving Carlton Sports Network (CSN) channel, police sources said. CSN reportedly bought television equipment worth Ł 14,0000 from Arena Television in Reddhill, Surrey. The value of the state-of-the art television equipment is Rs 30 million. However, when paying Customs duty, more..

SL’s Independence Day celebrated in London

Feb 7 (Island) Sri Lankan High Commission in London marked the country’s 68th anniversary of Independence at a solemn event attended by a large number of Sri Lankans belonging to all communities — Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and Burghers - representing the multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society in Sri Lanka, along with many friends and well-wishers in the UK. The program started with the hoisting of the National Flag by Acting High Commissioner Sugeeshwara Gunaratna more..

Golden opportunity for Himasha and Rumeshika

Feb 7 (Island) Olympians Indrajith Cooray and Manjula Kumara, sprinter Himasha Eshan and men’s 4x100 metres relay team are the favourites for gold medals in the men’s category, while long jumper N.C.D. Priyadharshani, triple jumper Vidusha Lakshani and sprinter Rumeshika Ratnayake are the closest to golds when the Athletics Championship of the on going South Asian Games commences in two days time. According to reports from India, some of the leading Indian athletes had skipped more..

Gota slams British hypocricy on Julian Assange

Feb 7 (Island) Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that the UK’s outright rejection of the UN ruling that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange be allowed to go free highlighted again British double standards vis-a-vis Sri Lanka. "Obviously, the British do not practice what they preach to us here as well as other international forums regularly," Rajapaksa sarcastically said. Referring to recent statements made in more..

Basil, Namal next in line

Feb 7 (SL) Former minister Basil Rajapaksa and MP Namal Rajapaksa are next in line to be arrested from the Rajapaksa family following the recent arrest of Yoshitha Rajapaksa. Both Basil Rajapaksa and Namal Rajapaksa are expected to be arrested over the alleged misuse of public funds. The internal air travel fare of former minister Basil Rajapaksa and MP Namal Rajapaksa has reportedly cost Rs. 150 million. According to information received, there is a high probability that Basil Rajapaksa and more..

Estate workers see red over bogus rice

Feb 7 (ST) Upcountry estate workers are being enticed by traders to buy glossy polished red rice unaware that they are buying rice dyed red that is unfit for consumption. They are being cheated into paying more for this rice: normal red rice sells at Rs. 65 a kilo but they pay Rs. 70 for the so-called polished rice. “When we wash the rice at home the water turns red and our hands become stained,” Ganamoorthy Kandasamy, a Hatton resident, said. His experience is shared by several others more..

Memorable day for Abeysinghe

Feb 7 (Hindu) Under-rated Sri Lankans sprung a few surprises on their fancied Indian rivals on the opening day of the swimming competitions of 12th South Asian Games at Dr. Zakir Hussain pool here on Saturday. Of the eight gold medals decided during the final session, India finished with four. However, the confidence expressed by the home camp that it would win a lion’s share of the titles stood more..

Yoshitha’s arrest, not unfair: Duminda D.

Feb 7 (SO) Minister Duminda Dissanayake said those who had no idea about the law were saying the arrest of Yoshitha Rajapaksa was a gross injustice but the issue of Carlton Sports Network (CSN) was discussed since Jan 8 last year. ”There was a complaint that there was fraud and malpractices at CSN and we being investigated at present. Earlier, we hailed CSN as being owned by the Rajapaksa family and were happy that MP Namal Rajapaksa and his brother Yoshitha more..

Sri Lankans leave for India after T20 bluff?

Feb 7 (SO) Sri Lanka’s cricketers left yesterday for India to contest three T20 matches but questions were raised on the quality of cricket that was dished out at the so-called Super T20 Provincial tournament played in the city of Colombo where the boundary line was said to have been shortened. The tournament was won by a team called the Colombo Commandos who beat a side known as the Galle Guardians and was a preparation for the Indian series. But with a boundary that measured more..

A violation of the constitution?

Feb 7 (ST) The move to appoint Democratic Party Leader, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka to Parliament to fill the vacancy created by the demise of Lands Minister M.K.A.D.S. Gunawardana, is a violation of the Constitution as deemed by legal experts. A senior lawyer explained that Article 91 of the Constitution clearly stipulates that a member of the armed forces cannot be appointed to Parliament. more..

Apparel industry to draw up 5-year plan

Feb 7 (ST) The apparel industry is currently in the process of drawing up its third five year plan that is being discussed among key stakeholders. With preparations underway to draft the next five year plan the industry is carrying out discussions on a number of issues particularly the trade concessions with the European Union (EU), a new US backed trade partnership with 12 countries, and the bilatral trade agreement with the Chinese authorities. The industry is awaiting the regaining of more..

Sending the wrong signals

Feb 7 (Island) Rising fast bowling sensation Dushmantha Chameera’s performance in the recent tour of New Zealand has got many excited. Chameera emerged as the standout performer from either side among the bowlers in the bilateral series and the 24-year-old with more experience could turn out to be a match winner. Dhammika Prasad too came up with some steady performances throughout last year and when he returns from injury the team’s new ball pair looks formidable. more..

Lyca offers $123M for Hutch

Feb 7 (CT) UK-based mobile virtual network operator Lycamobile has offered US$ 123 million to buy Hutchison Telecom Lanka, sources close to negotiations said on Friday. "We were having a MoU with Hutchison parent company to buy its Sri Lankan operations for US$ 123 million. Our MoU is still valid and our request for approval from TRCSL-Telecommunications Regulatory Commission in this regard is still pending more..

Colombo beat Galle to win domestic T-20 title

Feb 7 (Island) Fat bowler Shaminda Eranga finished with match winning figures of four wickets for 27 runs while Shehan Jayasuriya struck an unbeaten 62 as Colombo Commandos led by Milianda Siriwardana cruised to an eight wicket victory over Galle Guardians in the final of Super T-20 Provincial Tournament played under lights at Premadasa Stadium on Friday. Dinesh Chandimal’s Galle side put into bat posted a below par total of 143 and in reply Colombo chased down the target easily more..

Thisara only Sri Lankan player picked up at IPL auction

Feb 7 (CI) On a day when 94 players were sold for a total of Rs 136 crore* at the IPL 2016 auction in Bangalore, it was a bunch of Indian uncapped players who drew the most attraction and a good chunk of the cash too. Top among them - and one of four men who walked away with a contract worth a million dollars or more - was Pawan Negi, a left-arm spinner who can tonk the ball down the order, who was sold for Rs 8.5 crore to Delhi Daredevils. South African allrounder Chris Morris was the other more..

Revenue Bills delay and Tax Revision trigger a cash flow problem

Feb 7 (ST) The Govt is facing an immediate cashflow problem owing to suspension of VAT and NBT revision and the delay in the passing of revenue bills in Parliament and issuing necessary circulars, gazette notification relating to amendments made in 2016 budget in an unprecedented manner. Just two months into the 2016 budget, it has been revealed at a recent Treasury meeting that the govt is facing a cashflow problem. more..

Will Sonny come home?

Feb 7 (ST) My dear Mahinda maama, I am writing to you because I know this is a difficult time for you and despite leading the nation for ten years and winning a war against the most ruthless terrorist organisation in the world, I know you must be struggling to come to terms with the idea of a son being arrested and sent to prison. These days you must be confused because it is as if Yoshitha’s arrest is the most important issue in the country — not celebrating our independence, not the rising cost of living more..

Geneva: Ambiguity continues

Feb 7 (ST) The address by the Head of State on Independence Day is a much looked forward to occasion, for it outlines the Govt’s road-map for the ensuing year. Our Political Editor gives some detail of the diplomatic and political activity that took place as President Maithripala Sirisena prepared the text of his speech. Such activity on the eve of February 4 was necessitated due to the power play that unfolded in the fortnight before Independence Day. President and the PM seemingly took up more..

Maithri-Ranil prevent Shiranthi being arrested

Feb 7 (CT) At the end of an eventful week, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein arrived in the country last morning to begin his four-day official visit to assess the human rights situation in the country and the progress of reconciliation efforts. Unlike his predecessor Navanethem Pillay who arrived in Sri Lanka in August 2013 using her mandate, Hussein arrived in the country on an invitation by more..

Corruption probes push Rajapaksas to the wall

Feb 7 (SO) While the group led by former President Rajapaksa continues to pander to the most chauvinistic sentiments of the Sinhala-Buddhist community in their bid to regain power, President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, in a bold political move, allowed the Tamil version of the Sri Lankan national anthem to be sung at the state Independence Day ceremony. President Sirisena, PM Wickremesinghe and former President Kumaratunga, three leaders who initiated more..

Independence Day celebrations and hopes for the future

Feb 7 (SO) You must be knowing by now that this feline, though nursing streaks of cattiness in her nature, is a softie at heart and optimistic, bordering on naďvety. She sees the glass always half or more full; she places trust in humanity and even has faith in politicians, of course of those she considers sincere and that means a fair number in the present firmament. She’s bold enough to say she places faith and trust to do good by the country on the President, the PM and such as more..