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Video: Wellampitiya Police OIC transferred to Galle

May 22 (AD) Wellampitiya OIC has been transferred to the Galle Police Division with immediate effect, Police Media Spokesperson. The relevant action has been taken under the approval of the National Police Commission. Mohamed Ibrahim Insaf Ahmed, the suicide bomber responsible for the blast at the Cinnamon Grand in Colombo on April 21, is the owner of the copper factory at Wellampitiya. more..

It’s unfair to blame Bathiudeen: Naveen

May 22 (DM) While saying that it was unfair to find fault with someone like Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, who has not been found guilty, Minister Navin Dissanayake said Minister Bathiudeen turned emotional when he spoke at the Cabinet meeting about the false allegations levelled against him. Responding to questions raised by journalists, Mr. Dissanayake said it seemed that many including the media were attempting to blacklist Minister Bathiudeen which only amounted to an act more..

Ball in Maithri’s Court

May 22 (CT) Ceylon Chamber of Commerce together with eight other chambers’ organisations at an event held at a leading Colombo hotel, yesterday, took a pledge to recognise the citizens of this country, irrespective of race, religion, social status or caste, as Sri Lankans. This pledge was made in all three languages, Sinhala, Tamil and English, in the presence of several of the country’s leaders in commerce and industry. The hotel where this pledge was made was one of three hotels more..

Speaker informs House about receiving interim report on Easter attacks

May 22 (Island) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday informed Parliament that he had received the interim report of the three-member committee appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena to probe the Easter Sunday terror attacks. The Speaker promised to table the full report of the committee once he received it. Jayasuriya said so in response to UPFA MP Thushara Indunil who queried about current state of the inquiries more..

Delaying date for NCM: Govt in bid to save Bathiudeen

May 22 (CT) Govt yesterday decided to appoint a Parliament Select Committee to probe the allegations against Minister Rishad Bathiudeen levelled by the JO before assigning date to debate the JO’s No-Confidence Motion (NCM) against Bathiudeen. This decision was taken during the Party Leaders’ Meeting held at Parliament premises. The Opposition had protested the Govt’s decision. However, Govt had insisted on appointing a Select Committee as none of the allegations more..

Special security briefing by President to be held on Friday

May 22 (FT) Prez Sirisena has summoned a special security briefing on Friday, to discuss the current situation and action to be taken by the Govt. The briefing to be held in participation with representatives from all parties, security experts, priests, and defence journalists, SLFP General Secretary Dayasiri Jayasekara said, speaking at a media briefing held at the Party head office. “Those who are interested and have expertise in the area should be aware of what is happening. more..

D.E.W. Gunasekara

One month gone: No charge on over 200 Catholics murdered

May 22 (FT) It’s been one month since the murder of around 300 innocent Catholic children and parents but no has yet been charged for the biggest negligence of duty that SL has seen in recent history. Prez & PM have both denied any knowledge of the impending attacks when Indian Intelligence report states that way back on 4 April the Govt of SL was informed. Then again on 9 and 16 April, and finally just two hours before the attack on Easter Sunday, but the warning was not heeded. more..

Hutch-Etisalat merger operations set to begin next month

May 22 (Island) SL mobile phone services operator Hutch will merge with another leading operator Etisalat and merger operations will probably start from next month, Hutchison Telecommunications Lanka CEO Thirukumar Nadarasa said. "Therefore, Hutch is now investing US $100 million to develop its 4G network to provide an effective and efficient service to customers, he said. He also said that plans are afoot to invest $ 200 million in the medium term post-merger with Etisalat to bolster 4G more..

Fake news rampant after Sri Lanka attacks despite social media ban

May 22 (AFP) Sri Lankan social networks saw a surge in fake news after the Easter suicide bombings a month ago despite an official social media blackout, highlighting the inability of governments to contain disinformation, experts said. A nine-day ban on platforms including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and WhatsApp was introduced following the Islamic State-claimed attacks on churches and hotels on April 21 more..

Railway TUs claim Arjuna trying to bypass tender process

May 22 (CT) Trade unions of the SL Railways has claimed that Minister Arjuna Ranatunga is attempting to obtain Cabinet approval to handover the maintenance of 12 major railway stations to a private firm, without going by the tender process. They have pointed out that even if a proper tender procedure is undertaken, whenever a State property is leased to the private sector, the time for signing an agreement that would benefit the Govt more..

SL buys 400MW of floating emergency power

May 22 (EN) Cabinet had given approval to buy 400 MegaWatts of emergency power for up to nine months to solve power crisis triggered by delays in building planned power plants. The state information office said 200MW of floating power will be bought at 26.20 rupees a unit for six months from June 2019 from a floating plant off Kerawalapitiya. Another 200 MW will be bought for nine months from September 2019. more..

Did Saudi Arabia have inkling about blasts?

May 22 (TOI) Even as DNA tests conclusively proved that Zahran Hashim, chief suspect of the Easter Sunday blasts in Sri Lanka, died in the attacks, India worries that the growing tensions between the nation’s Buddhist majority and Muslim minority might plunge the island back into another crisis of the kind that saw a bloody war culminating in the LTTE’s elimination a decade back. Given the fact that India shared detailed intelligence more..

Video: Racism has become a commodity today: Dambara Amila Thero

May 22 (AD) Venerable Dambara Amila Thero says that racism has become a commodity under the social system today and that racism is marketed by politicians who are looking to come to power. He stated that while it is acceptable to ask Muslim women to take off their face veil due to security concerns it is wrong to do so simply due to religious reasons or because one cannot stand it. Thero also expressed his views regarding more..

Over 130 Buddhist Temples closed: Lack of facilities, alms force closure

May 22 (CT) Commissioner General of Buddhist Affairs, Sunanda Kariyapperuma said that over 130 Buddhist Temples had been closed countrywide, due to an insufficient number of Buddhist monks and various other reasons. He said that among the prominent reasons that had prompted the closure of the temples had been the lack of alms being received by monks regularly and unavailability of water & sanitation facilities. more..

Akila accused of turning education sector into job bank for UNPers

May 22 (Island) Govt is employing a large number of its henchmen in the education sector as sports instructors, watchers, etc., Professional Solidarity for Protecting Education, a collective of education unions says. Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) General Secretary, Joseph Stalin said that the Ministry had sent a list of 217 political victims to the Public Service Commission (PSC) seeking permission to give them appointments. more..

UNP’s gaping leadership vacuum Is there anyone ready to fill it?

May 22 (DM) They say crises are challenges clothed in hard choices. The current crisis in the country, the lack of clear, decisive and unfaltering leadership, more generally in the country and specifically in the UNP, is one such challenge clothed in hard choices. That challenge is more to the younger and up and coming second-tier leaders than to the one who is at the helm at this moment in time. more..

Change is vital

May 22 (DM) In the present context, change is absolutely vital, not just necessary but absolutely vital! Country first should be everybody's prerogative, very specially the politicians. When it is time to put the country first, it is time for all you hypocrites we call politicians to go home. Taking into account what has been amassed, all of you have stashed away not just here in SL but in foreign banks too; it should be a free ride for you more..

'No agreement for permanent US base in SL'

May 22 (DM) US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina Teplitz in her first interview with the print media after the Easter Sunday attack exclusively told the Daily Mirror how the US is committed to aid Sri Lanka to combat and defeat terrorism on the request of the SL Govt and how President Donald Trump offered the necessary resources in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday attacks to conduct the investigation. more..

A war victory that brings tears!

May 22 (DM) SL marked 10 years after defeating the LTTE on May 19, making the island nation reflect on what a deterrent an armed conflict can be to a country’s progress. The war took away lives, divided communities and denied us of the opportunity to make progress like other Asian countries. Rehabbed LTTE woman cadre the late Thamilini Jeyekkumaran in her book Under the shade of a sharp sword recalls a conversation she had with an old man who came to meet her at a tiger rebel camp. more..

NCM: Handle with care

May 22 (DM) The fear about Muslims after the April 21 massacre of Christians by a Muslim group at three churches and three luxury hotels that had engulfed the country seems to be fast fading away or no longer exists after the anti-Muslim riots in Puttalam, Kurunegala and the Gamapaha Districts on May 12 and 13. What really happened? Where has the fear gone? Did the rioters divert the attention of the people by diverting that of the security forces from recovering swords, knives, explosives more..

Bathiudeen willing to resign from all positions if found guilty

May 22 (DM) Minister Rishad Bathiudeen had informed the govt parliamentary group that he is willing to resign from all positions if he is found guilty by any investigation. Two govts MPs Ashu Marasinghe and Bandulalal Bandarigoda told a joint press conference in Parliamentary complex that the Minister informed this when the parliamentary group members questioned him on the charges that are being made against him. more..

Bathiudeen, Asath Sally and Hizbullah must resign: TNA

May 22 (DM) Minister Rishad Bathiudeen and the two Governors Asath Sally and M.L.A.M Hizbullah who are alleged to have links with National Thowheed Jama'at (NTJ) should be asked to resign and subjected to an investigation, TNA MP Sivashakthi Anandan told Parliament today. He said this should be done immediately without wasting time on a no-confidence motion. “What is happening today is that President Sirisena wants to safeguard the two governors while PM Ranil more..

Quo Warranto application against PM dismissed

May 22 (Island) The Court of Appeal, yesterday, dismissed the Quo Warranto application filed against Ranil Wickremesinghe being a member of Parliament. SLPP Colombo Municipal Council member Sharmila Gonawala moved the court on the basis the UNP leader held shares in a privately owned company, while being a member of parliament, thereby, violating the Constitution. Gonawala appealed that UNP leader be removed from Parliament. Gonawala claimed that more..

Video: NCM against Bathiudeen: No date given for debate

May 22 (DM) It was decided at the party leaders’ meeting held at the Parliamentary complex that no date could be given to debate the no confidence motion against Minister Rishad Bathiudeen in Parliament, MP Dinesh Gunawardena said. Replying to the questions asked by journalists, he said Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella was in a firm position that a debate for the NCM could not be given at this stage but should appoint more..

Private sector takes Pledge for Unity

May 22 (FT) Representatives of the private sector yesterday took a Pledge for Unity, a national initiative, marking one month since the Easter Sunday terror attacks in the country. Ceylon Chamber of Commerce CEO Dhara Wijayatilake said a group of nine chambers met last week to discuss the present situation in the country. “We decided that much has to be done to reunite a temporarily-fragmented Sri Lanka,” she added. “We discussed that the events that happened more..

Wajira calls on media to be more responsible

May 22 (FT) Minister Wajira Abeywardana yesterday called on journalists and the owners of media outlets to be responsible for their reporting and to stop spreading fake news. Addressing a gathering of reporters, Minister charged that a few erroneous media reports that could have triggered violence countrywide bring shame and devastation to the country. According to Minister Abeywardana, the Oppositions of the past Parliaments have extended unconditional support to eradicate terrorism. more..

'No-Confidence Motions not in SLFP agenda'

May 22 (FT) The SLFP said that the priority at present is to carry out the legal and educational reforms needed urgently to address the current security situation, not destabilise the Govt. “No-Confidence Motion may be in the agenda of other parties but not in the SLFP agenda,” said SLFP General Secretary Dayasiri Jayasekara, noting that the move will only delay the reforms needed to address the current situation in the country. more..

I don’t think Prez will extend his tenure: MR

May 22 (DM) Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa said he did not think Prez Sirisena would seek an extension of his tenure because he vowed to serve only one term. Mr. Rajapaksa said this when responding to journalists after visiting several schools in Colombo yesterday. When asked about his comments on Prez Sirisena’s alleged attempts to seek an extension in office, he said, “I don’t think he will do that. He came only for one term. I believe he is not a Prez who will postpone elections,” more..

Japan and India to develop Colombo port, countering Belt and Road

May 22 (Nikkei) The govts of Japan, India and SL have agreed to jointly develop the Port of Colombo, Nikkei has learned, as the Indian Ocean becomes more integral to global trade. The project's goals are to increase the port's container volume and enhance marine transportation in and around South Asia. The deal comes as China has been using Belt and Road projects to increase its influence in the region, and with Japan aspiring to play a significant role in the area pushing its Free & Open Pacific Ocean more..

Govt repeals MR’s controversial Takeover Act

May 22 (FT) Govt moved a new law to repeal the Revival of Underperforming Enterprises of Under-utilised Assets Act No.43 of 2011 yesterday in Parliament, seeking House approval. Even though the Act will be, repealed most properties acquired during the administration of Opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa will not be returned to their owners, but will continue to be with the Govt. Revival of Underperforming more..

Empty SL boat creates flutters in Nellore

May 22 (DC) An abandoned speed boat was spotted three days ago drifting in the Bay of Bengal close to the coast near Ponnapudi Pathuru village in Vidavalur mandal of SPSR Nellore district, Andhra Pradesh. Other than smoked cigarettes and beedi butts, a can of water bearing a Sri Lankan sticker was found in the boat, indicating that the water was produced in Sri Lanka. However, the police find the India-Sri Lanka friendship poster, which was found pasted on the boat, especially unsettling. more.. clinches top spot in e-Commerce

May 22 (CT) has clinched the top spot as SL's most valuable eCommerce brand in Retail Services, securing a score of 67.50. Being the pioneer e-commerce operator in the country, the company was placed 4th overall in the e-commerce brand category but was the leader in the Retail Services sector - ahead of several prominent industry players. Headquartered in London, Brand Finance is the world's leading independent band valuation and strategy consultancy more..

Sri Lanka's struggling hotels get fillip from local demand

May 22 (EN) Sri Lanka’s hotel demand surged during the Vesak holiday weekend with local bookings, after the industry took a hit following the Easter Sunday bombings in April. President of The Hotels Association of SL Sanath Ukwatte said that 60-70% of hotel rooms in the island were booked during the long weekend, which ran till Monday. Previously, hotel occupancy was at 10%, with foreigners cancelling trips to SL more..

Pakistan-Sri-Lanka trade drop to zero after Sunday-Easter bombings

May 22 (EAT) Trade between Pakistan and Sri Lanka has come to a sudden halt after the Sunday-Easter bombings. The reason for the termination of trade between Pakistan and SL is believed to be the escalating violence against the Muslim community in SL. “Rice and textile exports to SL from Pakistan have stopped. Potato export has also reduced drastically,” said Pakistan-SL Business Forum Chairman Aslam Pakhali. “It is the Muslim community in SL that imports Pakistani more..

Hayleys revenue up 34% YoY to Rs. 219 b in FY 18/19

May 22 (FT) The iconic SL multinational, Hayleys PLC, recorded outstanding growth in revenue and operating profits in the financial year ended 31 March 2019 (FY18/19). Group revenue expanded by 34% YoY to Rs. 219 b while operating profit before interest increased by 40% YOY to Rs.15.9 bn. Group Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortization for FY 18/19 has improved to Rs. 21.3 b from Rs. 15.8 b while the Finance Cost has increased from Rs. 5.9 b to Rs. 10.5 b. more..