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Owner of building that collapsed in Wellawatta arrested

May 21 (AD) The owner of the building in Wellawatta, which collapsed killing 2 people and injuring another 21, has been arrested after he surrendered to police. Following the tragic incident, Police had been looking for the owner of the building in question, a popular banquet hall by the name The Excellency located near Savoy Cinema on Charlemont Road, for questioning.  Hundreds of army troops, police personnel more..

SL offers 500 acres of land to Andhra Pradesh govt to develop industrial park

May 21 (Island) Sri Lanka has offered 500 acres of land to the Govt of Andhra Pradesh to develop an industrial park. President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe made separate phone calls to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Nara Naidu on Friday to convey their govt’s decision. This was in response to a proposal submitted by Naidu to the SL govt when he visited Colombo last January to participate as Chief Guest in the celebrations on the present govt completing two years in office. more..

CBK, MS, Ranil discuss NIB report on cabinet reshuffle

May 21 (SL) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga had an emergency meeting last week with President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe on a report by the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) on a cabinet reshuffle. NIB had disclosed that the cabinet reshuffle could be the result of a political coup. Some members of the cabinet aligned to the joint opposition and some UNP stalwarts had allegedly misled the President and PM to opt for a cabinet reshuffle. more..

SL’s luxury condo market heading for tears?

May 21 (Island) Sri Lanka’s Central Bank has placed the seemingly thriving real estate sector under close watch after fears that excessive credit may have financed a property bubble that could burst and undermine financial stability. Central Bank Governor Indrajith Coomaraswamay said a study was underway on bank lending to property development ventures and check if credit meant for small & medium-sized enterprises more..

ADB keen on investing in banks

May 21 (SO) The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is keen to work with the banking sector in Sri Lanka and is exploring opportunities in private and public banking sectors, a senior ADB official said. “We have a lot of opportunities to support the private sector in Sri Lanka and enable them to grow; by providing debt, equity guarantees, and capacity building projects,” Director Private Sector Financial Institutions Division, ADB, Christine A. Engstrom said. more..

Reflecting on your record with both parties

May 21 (ST) My dear Maithri, I thought I must write to you because you seem to be having a difficult time carrying out your work while juggling the challenges posed by Modi, Mahinda maama and the May Day – and even provincial councils are daring to defy you. All about you seem to be losing their heads and blaming it on you! We are of course aware that you are leading a govt like no other – because it comprises of Greens and Blues who have been rivals for almost seven decades since more..

Prez summons crucial SLFP CC meet tonight

May 21 (CT) President Sirisena has summoned a crucial SLFP Central Committee meeting tonight ahead of a Cabinet reshuffle widely speculated as being slated for tomorrow. Meanwhile, reliable sources disclosed that the hugely hyped Cabinet reshuffle would be more in the nature of an institutional reorganization than a ministerial reshuffle per se. President has also asked all Cabinet Ministers to be present at more..

House followed procedure in compliance with Constitution, elections law: Speaker

May 21 (ST) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday stated that Parliament followed the normal procedure in compliance with the Constitution and elections law when conveying the Appeal Court ruling disqualifying MP Geetha Kumarasinghe from holding a seat in Parliament, to the Elections Commission. Speaker’s Media Division issuing a press release said there had been no undue urgency or delay by Parliament in making this communication. more..

Mathew Abeysinghe bags the Presidential Sports award

May 21 (ST) Swimmer Matthew Abeysinghe was the cynosure of all eyes as he was crowned Sports Star at the Presidential Sports Awards 2016 held at the BMICH on Friday. He also won the Most Outstanding Sportsman of the year for his outstanding performances at the South Asian Games 2016 India where he won a record seven gold, two silver and one bronze medal. Marathoner Anuradha Indrajith Cooray and SL’s only internationally acclaimed motor racing star more..

New PPP unit begins search for investments

May 21 (ST) Sri Lanka’s new Private Public Partnership (PPP) division set up at the Finance Ministry is making preliminary arrangements to secure investments with private sector engagement for planning, implementation, financing and maintenance of certain infrastructural assets owned by the state agencies. This division functioning under the Treasury has already recruited executive staff to support and advise relevant ministries more..

The scramble to make a scapegoat of Ravi K

May 21 (Island) As we went to press, speculation was rife that the long spoken of cabinet reshuffle may materialise on Monday. However with this govt, nothing is certain until it actually happens. So we wait passively to see what happens. There is little point in holding our breath because no cabinet reshuffle is going to make any material change to the situation in the country. There was stiff resistance from within the UNP to making any changes in the portfolios held by them more..

President unveils newly built glass Stupa at Sri Sudarshana Dharma Nikethanaya

May 21 (PSL) A religious ceremony was held under the patronage of President Maithripala Siriena  to unveil the newly built three story glass Stupa at Gampaha Miriswatta Sri Sudarshana Dharma Nikethanaya, today (19). The President visited the temple at the invitation of the Most Ven. Ketawala Hemaloka Nayaka Thero and the President engaged in religious observances there and received blessings. Later, President unveiling the plaque opened the newly built 3-story glass Stupa more..

Anytime is tea time in Sri Lanka and the Aussie brew is cold

May 21 (ST) With their selfies and the broadest of smiles, the hopeful Lankans embarked on their Champions Trophy quest mid last week and the act will be staged in Ole Blighty from June 2-18. Smiles apart, the proposition is quite tough. The Lankans have been drawn up in Group ‘B’, alongside three heavyweights: South Africa at the Kennington Oval on June 3, India at the same venue on June 8 and Pakistan on June 12. more..

Malaysia beat Sri Lanka 22-9

May 21 (ST) Sri Lanka’s solid grip and defence was clinically breached in the final stage by hosts Malaysia to win the decisive Asian Division I Rugby Championship test by 22-9 and clinch the title in Ipoh yesterday. The Tuskers forced the Malaysians to commit errors and took the upper hand of the match as the visitors led the halftime by a whisker at 6-5. The Malaysians adopted an attacking right from the start but Sri Lanka neatly countered almost all of them to take a close lead more..

Royal draw first Bradby blood

May 21 (ST) Royal College put forth a brilliant exhibition of sustained rugby to thwart Trinity College ambitions and put themselves in the line for a possible double triumph when they beat a fighting Trinity outfit 22-17 in the first leg of the Bradby Shield at Pallekele. Royal scored from two goals, a try, and a penalty, while Trinity got their points through a goal and two tries. For all the pre-match talk of Royal’s outsides, it was the pack that set up the triumph with more..

Maithri plans to go ahead with make or break Cabinet reshuffle

May 21 (CT) Govt commemorated the fallen war heroes on Friday near the monument erected at the Parliament Grounds under the patronage of President Sirisena who vowed the govt is committed in strengthening the Tri-Forces enabling them ensure national security. President commended the great service rendered by the members of Tri-Forces not only in the issue of national security, but also in the national more..

Junior TT Championships 2017: India grab the initiative in team events

May 21 (ST) India were riding high at the ongoing South Asian Junior and Cadet Table Tennis Championships 2017 at the S. Thomas’ College Indoor Stadium tables, yesterday. India were leading the points tables at the Cadet (Boys and Girls) and Junior (Boys and Girls) events. India with eight points and six points respectively occupy the first spot in the Cadet Boys and Girls Team events. The host country’s closest neighbour leads the Cadet Girls Team event with six points. more..

Royal Canadian Naval Ship HMCS Winnipeg in Colombo

May 21 (SLN) Canadian Naval Ship, HMCS Winnipeg - FFH 338 arrived at the Port of Colombo for a training and goodwill visit today (20). The ship was welcomed by the SL Navy in accordance with naval traditions, on her arrival. During the ship’s stay, its crew is expected to take part in a wide range of activities including passage exercises, on-board receptions and several sporting events organized by the SL Navy. The ship is scheduled to leave from the Port of Colombo on 25th May. more..

Face the Nation

Silver linings in a turbulent week

May 21 (SO) Finance Minister Ravi Karunayake´s mobile phone ran incessantly the past few days while a stream of visitors were seen at his apartment at Monarch Towers, next to the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo. They were all concerned about reports that come tomorrow, May 22, exactly 45 years after SL became Republic in 1972, Asia´s best Finance Minister may no longer hold that position. Political circles have been expecting the change of portfolio for Finance for some time now. more..

Sri Lanka and New Economic World Order

May 21 (ST) China hosting a mega event this week not only announced that it has arrived on the world scene as a major economic power-house, but telegraphed its vision for the next 30 years and more.  With the US now on reverse gear advocating nationalism and protectionism, China has become the new face of internationalism. How the roles have reversed. In an article (ST 2), a Sri Lankan-born UN diplomat lucidly explains China’s ambitious US$ 124 billion plans aimed at more..

'No one can point fingers at the military'

May 21 (SL) Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka claims he is a happy man who does not take any issue to heart, but despite his positive attitude he is disgruntled that the corruption committed by the previous govt is still not investigated and those responsible punished. He says the Rajapaksa’s are wolves in sheep skin, but they will never pose a threat to the stability of the current govt. more..

How deep is Sri Lanka in the global league?

May 21 (CT) There's no argument about the fact that President Maithripala Sirisena has a heck of a lot on his plate too much perhaps for one man to handle considering the fact that at Cabinet level or otherwise he has hardly any SLFP men worth their salt who can step in as effective advisors. The wretched unpalatable fact he also has to live with is that he is vexed with the option of having to trust, at least to some extent, his SLFP Ministers in Govt and in Provincial Councils. more..

Sri Lanka’s foreign policy is for its own interests not others

May 21 (SL) Visiting Indian PM Narendra Modi’s statement on Vesak Day that Sri Lanka’s security on land or in the Indian Ocean is linked and it is indivisible with India would have by now sparked off intense debate with sharp criticism from the Joint Opposition (JO) if not for the surprising and unannounced meeting between the Indian Premier and the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Indian High Commissioner’s residence during the visit. Rajapaksa can be considered more..

'Wellawatte building not according to stipulated instructions'

May 21 (SO) Operations to find the bodies of the two missing people believed to be under the rubble of the Excellency Hall in Wellawatte which collapsed on Thursday morning went on till late last evening. According to the OIC in charge of Wellawatte Police, a male and a female, identified as a waiter and a labourer were later located ten feet below the rubble. The waiter, Ramar Niroshan’s uncle Paramesh arrived at the site upon more..

Shoddy building, flouting rules

May 21 (Island) Megapolis Minister Champika Ranawaka estimated after last week’s collapse of the seven-storey reception hall in Wellawatte that there are 10,000 illegally built homes and offices in Colombo and said that action would be taken to demolish them. Fortunately there was no wedding taking place in the hall at the time of the tragedy. The toll of dead and injured would have been much higher if that was the case. The minister promising action now is well and good. more..

One war, many memories

May 21 (SO) The battlefields of the Vanni, in May 2009, were the site of a military victory between state armed forces and the forces of an ethnic minority secessionist insurgent movement. Histories - scholarly, popular, apologetic and triumphal – are being written about the war that ended on May 18, 2009, with the overrunning of the final enclave held by the LTTE. Stories of valour are the inspiration of nations and communities, while stories of loss and defeat help in social reflection, more..

Govt to demolish 10,000 buildings after Wellawatta tragedy

May 20 (ST) In the aftermath of the construction accident in Wellawatta this week, Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development plans to take steps to remove all unauthorised buildings, including 10,000 already identified unauthorised structures. Critical of the ineffectiveness of govt agencies tasked with monitoring and regulating  construction and related real-estate development, Subject Minister more..

'India should actively get involved in Sri Lankan power sector growth'

May 20 (IANS) India should actively participate in Sri Lanka's growing power sector, both traditional and renewable, a top govt official has said. "India has a good opportunity and should actively participate. The two govts are active in exploring business potential," B.M.S. Batagoda, Secretary, Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy, said. He also said SL govt is looking at the possibility of three-way joint venture among more..

Minister fixes time to discuss alleged threat made to GMOA

May 20 (DM) Labour and Trade Union Relations Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne has fixed a time and date to discuss the complaint made by the GMOA in connection with the alleged threat by Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne. He will meet the GMOA on May 23 at 3 pm to discuss the matter. GMOA had made an official complaint to Minister Seneviratne requesting his intervention to solve the issue of an alleged threat made by more..

MP Raviraj Murder Appeal against HC order acquitting Navy officers

May 20 (FT) The Court of Appeal yesterday (19) fixed to be taken up on 30 June the appeal filed by the widow of assassinated TNA MP Nadarajah Raviraj against the order by the Colombo High Court in Raviraj’s murder case. The Bench comprised Justices Deepali Wijesundera and Lalith Jayasuriya. Appellant Sasikala Raviraj sought the Court of Appeal to set aside the High Court’s verdict of acquittal of the accused. more..

Sri Lankans who sheltered Edward Snowden in dire straits

May 20 (Roar) In the wake of the Hong Kong govt’s rejection of their asylum claims late last week, the Sri Lankans and Filipino who sheltered whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013 are in fear of being locked up in immigration detention centres and separated from their children. Sri Lankans—Supun Kellapatha and Nadeeka Nonis, along with their two children and Ajith Pushpakumara—and Filipina Vanessa Rodel more..

Kautilyan machinations and Medamulana Machiavelli

May 20 (DM) Vesak festivity in Sri Lanka acquired an international dimension this year with the Island nation hosting the UN Int'l Vesak day. The icing on this Vesak event cake was the participation of Indian PM Narendra Modi as chief guest in the celebrations. Even though President and PM basked in the glow of Narendra Modi’s brief trip described officially as a religious visit, the political highlight of the Indian premier’s stay more..

CEB spends billions to purchase power from private plants

May 20 (SL) The power generation cost for the year 2017 is 187 billion rupees which include the cost of thermal plants operated by the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), the Hydro plant operated by CEB, Private Thermal plants, and renewable energy comes under the purview of the Board. In the light of this, CEB has published their 20 year least cost long term generation expansion plan for the period 2018 to 2037. more..

Bambara attacks on the rise: Removing nests not the answer

May 20 (ST) A number of bambara bees (Giant Honeybee of Asia) attacks have been reported recently from various parts of the country — and an expert has warned that short sighted clearing up operations could be harmful ecologically. The latest incident was reported from Mundalama, in Puttalam on Wednesday, Vesak Poya Day, while some 70 people including children were observing sil. Some children had thrown stones at more..

Sleepy drivers dicing with death

May 20 (ST) Exhausted drivers who nod off at the wheel have emerged as a significant danger on the roads of Sri Lanka, alongside speeding divers. An academic says speeding and fatigue account for the majority of deadly injuries in road traffic accidents. About 60% of fatal and grievous injuries are caused by speed combined with fatigue, an expert on transport, Professor Amal Kumarage of the University of Moratuwa, said. more..