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Jayantha controls first Ex-co meeting in charge

May 11 (DM) New Sri Lanka Cricket chief Jayantha Dharmadasa was completely in control of the first ex-co meeting of SLC office bearers on Thursday, sources said. Dharmadasa asked all members to unite and work towards one goal in order to bring Sri Lanka’s cricket back to its glory days. An ex-co member said that it was a very fruitful meeting and the new president made it clear that he was keen to clean up the image of more..

Influenza A marches on, kills four

May 11 (Island) The Health Ministry said that 108 out of 538 persons had tested positive for Influenza A (N1H1). Ministry Spokesman said that 13 of the cases which tested positive for the Influenza virus, now known as Seasonal Influenza, were pregnant women. About 44 pregnant women were among the influenza patients, he added. Four deaths due to seasonal influenza had also been recorded so far, said the Spokesman. more..

I was misquoted: Asath Sally

May 11 (DM) While stating that he does not advocate or support anyone to take up arms against Sri Lanka, former Colombo Deputy Mayor in an affidavit said he was misquoted by the Junior Vikatan magazine published in India. “I gave an interview to the Junior Vikatan magazine published in India. I state that in the manner in which the interview was published I have been misquoted. Upon realizing this I requested them to more..

The world’s most governed country

May 12 (CT) Does not the man on the street have a right to know who is running his country, or a land on which he was born which is more like it? The Minister of Technology, Champika Ranawaka, says criminals are running the economy and the Minister of Health, Maithripala Sirisena, says the mafia is running the health sector as if this is not enough, and some extremist Buddhist monks have turned Buddhism into a radical religion have openly said they are racist. more..

Remembering the true sons of our soil

May 12 (SO) President Rajapaksa declared the National War Heroes Commemoration Month on Wednesday at Temple Trees after the Ranaviru flag was pinned on him. Moreover, the National War Heroes Commemoration Month will continue till June 8. A series of events will be held to coincide with the War Hero Commemoration including the Victory Day Parade at the Galle Face Green and the special Commemoration Ceremony at the War Heroes Memorial at Sri Jayewardenapura, more..

'UNP’s no-confidence motion defies parliamentary democracy'

May 12 (SO) Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said democracy has today become a laughing stock thanks to the present Opposition. He said that the UNP’s no-confidence motion against Minister Dilan Perera over a petty issue is a serious blow to morality, political culture and parliamentary democracy. There must be serious or specific allegations to warrant a no-confidence motion against the govt or a Minister. more..

Northern PC elections, the May 21 token strike and more

May 12 (CT) It is certainly historic to have a broad trade union front in Colombo, meeting with the TNA leaders to appeal for the support of the Tamil voter in making their May 21st Token Strike a success. More so, when that trade union front includes the two major affiliates from the UNP and the JVP apart from other major trade unions like the FTZ&GSEU, LJEWU, UPTO and the FUTA playing lead roles. It is also historic and politically a new shift, when the TNA leadership made no bones about more..

The lights are going out

May 12 (SL) Last week the debate on the power tariffs shifted to the “so-called” tariff reductions announced by President Rajapaksa in his May Day speech. The President was undoubtedly making a political speech on May Day and his announcement was that there would be no increase in tariffs to those consuming less than 60 units. “Not even an increase of 5 cents,” he declared. However, the debate continued with some claiming that there was an increase in the amount even to those more..

'We have identified our lapses in the past'

May 12 (SO) John Amaratunga, the senior MP from the Gampaha district who enjoyed the rare honour of being first appointed as a member of Parliament under the new Constitution by President J.R. Jayewardene in 1978, continuously, represented the Wattala electorate holding a number of ministerial portfolios under four of the previous party leaders. He presently functions as the Chief Opposition Whip in Parliament. more..

Spreading the sunshine

May 12 (Island) The ability of the political establishment to look after itself and its fellow-travelers was demonstrated anew by last week’s cabinet decision to give provincial councilors who have served more than two and a half years duty free car permits. On top of that, even ex-provincial councilors who had served two and a half years will be entitled to this concession. It wasn’t long ago that the sale of duty free permits issued to MPs to import motor vehicles was officially sanctioned. more..

Gemunu’s ministerial recommendations

May 12 (NS) The President of the Private Bus Owner’s Association, Gemunu Wijeratne, has demanded that the Ministry of Private Transport Services be taken off C.B. Ratnayake. He wants President Rajapaksa to handle it himself. Wijeratne, moreover, has opined that only the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has the backbone to resist political interference and vanquish what he calls ‘transport terrorism’. more..

'People need to stand up for their rights'

May 12 (SL) UNP MP Harin Fernando says that the govt’s move to marginally reduce the electricity tariffs that were increased last month is yet another media gimmick done to divert people’s attention from the issue and to convince that the govt is genuine in addressing the people’s issues. He observed that people should not endorse the govt that promotes aimless development projects. “What people in this country can do is to more..

From the Floor: Fathers and sons

May 12 (NS) Ours is a legislature with lots of sons – sons of the fathers who had been the legislators and made the way for their sons to continue the legacy. Yet, it is doubtful whether they have heard the age-old saying that good fathers make good sons. This was amply visible during the last week’s parliamentary proceedings which mainly revolved around two impeachments. One of them was defeated and another has just been entered in the Order Book. The defeated one had been more..

Salley episode closes lid on armed rebellions

May 12 (NS) The week began with news from the Buckingham Palace in London which stated that the Queen will not be attending the CHOGM to be held in Sri Lanka in November due to health reasons. However, they have confirmed that the Prince of Wales will represent the Queen, who is the head of the Commonwealth, at the meeting. The Buckingham announcement clearly said that the reason is that we are reviewing the amount of long-haul travel that is taken by the Queen. more..

'Govt must listen to the people'

May 12 (SL) Attorney at Law and Central Committee member of the JVP, Sunil Watagala says that people have to use their civil rights to struggle. He observed that since the people have seen how the judiciary has been ignored, the option is for the people to struggle and agitate for their rights. “We want to request the Bar Association to intervene and study the matter to look at the kind of legal action that could be initiated,” more..

‘No Confidence’ motion highlights need to safeguard SL migrant workers’ rights

May 12 (ST) The debate on the ‘No Confidence’ motion against Foreign Employment Promotion Minister Dilan Perera, over the execution of housemaid Rizana Nafeek, was another opportunity to reflect on the plight of thousands of Sri Lankans employed in the Middle East, mainly as housemaids, and annually inject the biggest chunk in foreign exchange into State coffers. As to how prudent it is to bring a ‘No Confidence’ motion against one minister over the execution of the housemaid, more..

A country of uncommon wealth and corruption

May 12 (ST) I thought I must write to you when I heard that you would be visiting our country for the Commonwealth summit in November instead of your mother, who we were told, does not undertake long journeys away from your country anymore. Firstly, the news must have come as a great relief for our fellows who run the show here, who were worried that none of your chaps-including your Prime Minister-would attend, because someone in Canada wants everyone to boycott the summit. more..

Intense struggles move against govt

May 12 (SL) Most astrologers believe that leaving the country for a short time would help overcome the bad period one is experiencing due to the ill-positioned planets. Whenever a bad period is reaching its peak, most astrologers advice their clients to undertake overseas trips. What with the country still suffering from the shock treatment received by way of an electricity tariff increase, President Rajapaksa was scheduled to more..

The new terrorism

May 12 (ST) Not a week passes without a major accident on our roads and the showpiece of the Govt – the new road network countrywide — is becoming the ‘kiss of death’ for many. The facts are telling: Someone dies in a road accident every four hours in Sri Lanka. There have been 738 deaths in traffic accidents in just the first four months of this year. In 2012, there were 2,425 such deaths and in 2011, it was 2,676. The number killed averages six to seven a day for the past five years. more..

The arrest, release and future of Azath Salley

May 12 (Island) The main political drama over the past several days was the detention of Azath Salley and the hunger strike he had launched while in detention. During the few days that he was in CID custody Salley was being transported from the CID headquarters to hospital and back in the full glare of media attention. He was visited in the hospital by the Chairman of the HRC as well. The present writer has known Salley from the time he was in the Sri Lanka Mahajana Party and later the more..

SLC awards women cricketers ‘peanuts

May 12 (Island) Sri Lanka Cricket has awarded country’s women cricketers’ annual contracts, but their remuneration is peanuts compared to their millionaire male counterparts. SLC announced that it had awarded contracts to 35 women cricketers on Friday, but there was no raise in match fees as they remained 100US$ for ODIs and 50US$ for T-20s. The five players in the Category ‘A’ of the list of contracted players more..

No request for EU monitors

May 12 (SL) The govt has not yet made any request for elections monitor from the European Union for the Northern Provincial Council elections, the EU Ambassador in Colombo said. Head of Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka Bernard Savage said that it was if the Sri Lankan govt requests for foreign monitors the EU will respond accordingly. President Rajapaksa had announced that elections will be held in September but the Department of Elections is yet to be notified. more..

37 Peradeniya undergrads to be suspended?

May 12 (Island) Thirty seven senior undergraduates of the University of Peradeniya have been identified and listed for suspension on charges of ragging freshers. However, action to be initiated against them will be determined by the deans of the faculties they belong to, a university official said last week. The decision to entrust the respective deans of the faculties to report whether the suspected undergraduates be suspended or not was taken following a lengthy discussion between more..

SLMC to oppose 19 A

May 12 (SL) The SLMC is to oppose the implementation of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. SLMC General Secretary Hassan Ali said that under the 19th Amendment land and police powers proposed under the 17th Amendment will be removed. He insisted that removing land and police powers is unfair and should remain as far as his party is concerned. Hassan Ali said that the SLMC is willing to discuss the issue with more..

LSSP on the proposed electricity tariffs

May 12 (Island) Polit Bureau of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party is glad that the President has made some revision in the proposed electricity tariffs by removing the increase in the first two 30- unit slabs, thereby giving some relief to the poor, who form 50% of the domestic consumers, and consume less than 60 units a month. The reduction in the fuel adjustment charge by 25% offers further relief. But it is our contention that the proposed electricity tariffs need to be reviewed in their totality and more..

Sri Lanka seeks $700 mln World Bank loan to overcome revenue shortfall

May 12 (ST) The Sri Lankan govt is seeking US $7OO million assistance from the World Bank following the Treasury’s failed effort to get budgetary support of $1 billion from the IMF. The Treasury is eyeing cheaper funds for development work and urgent expenditure from international donor agencies, a senior govt official said. A discussion on obtaining financial assistance from the World Bank was held at the Finance Ministry in Colombo recently with the participation of more..

A new weapon for the chief arms agent of the Tigers

May 12 (Hindu) If there is one weapon that Kumaran Padmanathan now says he has faith in, it is education. “If only I had taken education more seriously, I would have been able to evaluate situations better,” he says, leaning backward in his chair, at his office in Senchcholai Children Care Home –Kilinochchi. This is the man who headed the arms procurement wing and ‘international secretariat’ of the LTTE. more..

Biona responds: ‘We are ok now’

May 12 (NS) Following last week’s revelation about unregistered multi-vitamin capsule Biona not being registered with the Cosmetics Devices and Drugs Control Authority (CDDCA), a spokesperson from Harcourts informed that the product has been registered with the CDDCA following several warnings issued. The official said they had received the approval of the CDDCA on Friday. However, Director CDDCA, Dr Hemantha Beneragama denied claims made by Harcourts that the said more..

Salley recovers in luxury hospital room

May 12 (Island) Former Deputy Mayor Azath Salley, now recovering from his ordeal in a luxury room of the Nawaloka Hospital, yesterday declared that he had at no time called on anybody to take up arms nor supported the division of his motherland. "All I did was to speak out against injustices and undemocratic acts being committed by this govt against the poor masses," he said. He said that he would issue a detailed media statement in a couple of days after he recovers his health. more..

A people without a story

May 12 (NYT) Four years ago this week, the LTTE announced that their struggle for an independent homeland in northern Sri Lanka had “reached its bitter end.” The group had been fighting on behalf of the Tamil people for more than a quarter-century, and its defeat was absolute. Today, great sections of Tamil country are still a scene of devastation. The houses are either destroyed or brand-new; the land is more..

Halal report to Cabinet

May 12 (SL) The Cabinet subcommittee appointed to look into the halal issue will submit its final report to Cabinet soon, head of the committee and senior Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake said. He said the report is almost complete and once finalized it will be presented to Cabinet to decide on the next step. Committee member, Minister A.H.M Fowzie meanwhile said that a final round of discussions will be held by the committee before the report is completed and handed over to Cabinet. more..

Salley attended controversial rally not knowing their motives

May 12 (NS) Former Colombo District Deputy Mayor, Azath Salley who was arrested and released by the CID, admitted taking part in a conference organized by a confederation of Muslim organizations, not knowing their motives and background. Salley made the above statement in his affidavit to President Rajapaksa before he was released on Friday. “I state that I attended a conference organized by the 'Popular Front of lndia' purely on the basis of an invitation more..

'No final decision yet to repeal certain sections of 13th Amendment'

May 12 (Island) Minister Basil Rajapaksa said yesterday that the govt has still not reached finality on the longstanding proposition to repeal certain sections of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution considered obstacles to government’s development initiative. He said the effort envisaged the scrapping of land and police powers, an issue which has gathered momentum with the impending Northern PC polls. more..

Don’t cross IMBL, Collector tells fishermen

May 12 (Hindu) The district administration has warned stern action against mechanised boat fishermen, crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and using banned nets when they resume fishing after the 45-day ban on May 29. “Stern action will be taken against the boat owners under the Tamil Nadu Marine Regulation Act, 1983, if they failed to adhere to the guidelines and used the banned pair trawling and purse seine nets,” District Collector K.Nanthakumar has said. more..

6000 passengers at Mattala

May 12 (SL) The govt says 6000 passengers arrived at the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport since its opening in March this year. Minister Priyankara Jayaratne said that being a new airport the govt does not expect a heavy flow of incoming air traffic at Mattala immediately. He confirmed that there were no international flights scheduled to arrive at Mattala last Thursday. He said that a special discussion on this was held between his Ministry and airport officials last week. more..

Ban on NZ milk powder in the offing

May 12 (NS) Amidst widespread speculations that milk powder from New Zealand will be banned in the Sri Lankan market, an urgent meeting is to be summoned next week between officials from the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) and the Health Ministry to discuss the way forward. Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, speaking in Parliament, urged the public to refrain from consuming imported powdered milk. more..

Hirunika steps down from politics

May 12 (SL) Hirunika Premachandra has decided to temporarily step down from politics on the basis that the political climate is not favorable for her. Premachandra, the daughter of slain politician Bharatha Lakshman, said that she also needs proper backing to get fully engaged in politics. Hirunika is currently studying law and she says once her law exams are over she will decide on her next step. “It is hard to do politics in Sri Lanka. I have spoken to my family and I will decide more..

SLMC issues ultimatum to Hakeem

May 12 (CT) Minister of Justice and Leader of the SLMC, Rauff Hakeem, has been given an ultimatum of one month by his party hierarchy to deal with the govt over the alleged harassment and intimidation of the Muslims in the country and to arrive at a solution to the problem, sources said. SLMC Supreme Command member Mohamad Naseer, meanwhile said the party had requested an urgent meeting with the president to discuss issues that are of critical importance to the Muslims. more..

Staggering deals for the showpiece summit

May 12 (ST) For Britain, widely described as the mother of the Commonwealth, it was a maternal change of heart towards Sri Lanka. First was the official announcement that PM David Cameron would attend the Colombo summit. The next came three days later when Buckingham Palace declared that Queen Elizabeth II would, however, not come. Instead, it would be Prince Charles who will deputise for his mother. more..

Customs RTF earns Rs. 510m revenue in first quarter

May 12 (SO) The Sri Lanka Customs Revenue Task Force has earned Rs. 510 million in govt revenue during the first quarter of the year 2013 by various detections. Director Customs RTF Mali Piyasena said that the revenue was generated from the detections of illicit cigarettes, birth control drugs, dried sprats, refuse tea, several vehicles imported declared as spare parts and some commercial frauds. He said this was a record figure reported after he took control of the unit since January more..