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SLFP accuses govt of going soft on Rajapaksas

Mar 8 (ST) The UNP dominated govt appears to be coming under increasing pressure from its major partner, SLFP over its poor performance in the past 59 days. Latest is Thursday’s near unanimous decision by the SLFP Central Committee empowering President Sirisena to form a National Govt before the end of the 100-Day Programme on April 23. Decision has raised doubts about an early parliamentary election. more..

Polls: To be or not to be

Mar 8 (CT) SLFP, SL's second largest political party which has the highest number of seats in the current Parliament is for a national govt. UNP, which is SL's biggest political party, though a minority in Parliament, nevertheless, which is calling the shots in the new interim govt, where the Premier is its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, however, wants Parliament dissolved and is calling for an early general election. In that backdrop, the JVP, which at one time was Sri Lanka's third political force, more..

The fall of Mahinda and the remaking of Sri Lanka’s foreign policy

Mar 8 (Island) The more egregious of the blunders of the Rajapaksa regime were in the area of foreign policy. Without doubt Sri Lanka’s global reputation suffered badly under the former president. It might be an exaggeration to say that Sri Lanka’s stock has started rising after the fall of Mahinda Rajapakksa, but it is fair to say that after the change in government the slide in reputation has been stemmed and the trend is being reversed. To wit, the six-month deferral of the UNHRC report more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Mar 8 (ST) A high ranking Defence Ministry official, now under investigation in a high profile case, has left Sri Lanka, raising doubts about her return. She is one of those who have been questioned at length in the high-profile case. They were in consultation with AG’s Department on what action could be taken against her, they say. However, this official had obtained prior clearance from higher ups before her departure. more..

Lack of funds hit highway projects

Mar 8 (SO) The govt is scrambling for funds to resume construction work on highways and roads due to the previous regime failing to settle dues to contractors and not paying for lands acquired for road projects. New govt needs around Rs. 15 billion urgently to fund these projects. This was revealed at a meeting to ascertain the govt’s expenditure projections attended by Ministers of Finance, Highways, Investment Promotion more..

Fishermen fear Sri Lankan stand

Mar 8 (CG) Desperate to find a negotiated settlement to the dispute over fishing in the Palk Bay, leaders of India’s Rameswaram fishermen keep their fingers crossed as they fear that their Sri Lankan counterparts may harden their stand on bottom trawling. The Lankan Tamil fishermen may even agree for sharing the Palk Bay with Indian fishermen for fishing but would certainly oppose bottom trawling, the leaders feel, more..

Don't return to Sri Lanka: Premachandran warns Tamil Diaspora

Mar 8 (CT) Nearly 10 Tamils were arrested by the Terrorism Investigation Department (TID) following their return to Sri Lanka from European countries – Australia, Italy, Middle East and Canada, at the BIA in Katunayake, in the past two months. Most of these Tamils are those who had left the country during the war, yet due to the change in govt, have decided to visit the country on the invitation and request by the new govt. more..

No hurry to name prime ministerial candidate: SLFP

Mar 8 (Island) The Bring Back Mahinda campaign, if not halted, would lead to a division of the SLFP and spoil its chances of winning the next General Election, a senior member of the party warned. Former Deputy Foreign Minister Neomal Perera said that the call by three small left parties aimed at pressurizing the SLFP leadership to name former President Rajapaksa as its next PM candidate was sure to split the party unless more..

TNA publicly condemns Indian poaching

Mar 8 (ST) The TNA has for the first time objected to Indian fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters when its leaders met India’s visiting External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. “We raised the issue of the fishermen and the fact that intrusions had escalated,” TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran said. “She said she was aware of that. There were to be talks between the fishermen of the two countries on March 11 but the talks more..

Blood Ivory to go up in flames

Mar 8 (NS) Steps will soon be taken to destroy the consignment of Blood Ivory seized by Customs in May, 2012 and held in custody thus far, Deputy Minister Vasantha Senanayake said. He expressed these views in response to a query by The Nation as to why the consignment continued to remain at a Customs warehouse in Colombo Port. Environmentalists have raised issue regarding the continued delay in destroying consignment more..

Special Presidential Commission to probe corruption

Mar 8 (ST) President Maithripala Sirisena has appointed Supreme Court Justice Priyasath Dep to head a Commission of Inquiry to look into corruption and misuse of power under the previous regime. The other members of the commission are Supreme Court Judge Anil Gunaratne, High Court Judge Gihan Kulathunge, retired Auditor General Sarath Mayadunne and retired Additional Solicitor General Aiyathurei Gnanadasan. more..

President Sirisena receives a warm welcome in London

Mar 8 (IL) President Maithripala Sirisena received a warm welcome as he arrived at London Heathrow Airport commencing his three-day official visit to the UK on 7 March 2015. First Lady Jayanthi Sirisena is accompanying the President. Two Sri Lankan children welcomed the President and the First Lady at the airport. Her Majesty the Queen’s special representative Baroness Garden of Frognal was at the VVIP lounge at London more..

WC 2015: Australia beat Sri Lanka

Mar 8 (CI) A young punk scored a punkish first century - the fastest by an Australian and one ball slower than the fastest by anybody at a World Cup, a master scored a classic third consecutive hundred - the first man to do so at a World Cup, there were five supporting half-centuries, but eventually the Sydney runathon was decided by Australia's superior bowling and fielding under pressure. more..

Fastest ODI hundred for Australia

Mar 8 (CI) 51: Balls taken by Glenn Maxwell for his hundred - the second-fastest in World Cups after Kevin O'Brien's 50-ball hundred against England in 2011. Maxwell took one ball less than AB de Villiers, who hit a 52-ball hundred against West Indies earlier in this World Cup. This is the fastest ODI hundred by an Australia batsman beating James Faulkner's 57-ball century against India in 2013. 2: Number of hundreds by Australia's No. 5 in World Cups before Maxwell's. more..

WC 2015: New Zealand beat Afghanistan

Mar 8 (CI) Five matches. Five teams bowled out. Five victories. New Zealand have been off duty the past week at the World Cup, but their ultra-attacking brand of cricket was as finely tuned as ever. Daniel Vettori made it look even more menacing with a touch of spin and a lot of guile. His 4 for 18 eased him past 300 ODI wickets and left Afghanistan all but out of the World Cup. A target of 187 was not going to be taxing, and it provided opportunity for Martin Guptill to find some touch. more..

Calamitous events at Bandarawela

Mar 8 (CT) First incident: The Iranian engineers who were on duty in the Karandagolla tunnel of Uma Oya project noticed on the night of the 24 December 2014 that water had been leaking into the tunnel from few places. Second incident: Engineers and the people of the area said on 25 December torrential showers washed the entire area of Badulla, Bandarawela, Ella and Ella Wellawaya. Third incident: On 26 December the villagers of more..

Three pairs of fours, and Maxwell's moment of truth

Mar 8 (CI) Aaron Finch has spent an awful lot of time thinking about how to combat the swinging ball lately, given that he was bowled by it in Auckland off the inside edge and was then pouched in the slips in Perth off the outside edge. Sydney presented a rather different challenge: not offering much to the pacemen and causing him to face up to spin early in his innings - the second over even. Having seen off Sachithra Senanayake's off breaks, the leg breaks of Seekkuge Prasanna posed another question, more..

Don’t cry over lost jaggery, protect what is left

Mar 8 (Island) President Rajapaksa’s defeat has invigorated the hue and cry against the Southern Mega Projects (SMP). Their misplacement, magnitude, wastefulness and irrelevance are being highlighted in addition to the corruptions alleged to be associated with them. Not a word is heard in their praise. Before it is too late, I consider it my duty to leave this record behind me on my memory of these Projects, from my official association with them from their inception. more..

'EU fisheries ban could be removed soon'

Mar 8 (EN) A European Union ban on fishery exports from Sri Lanka could be resolved in a matter of months given the island's moves to comply with international regulations, a visiting EU parliamentary trade official has said. Jan Zahradil, a Vice-Chair of the EU Committee on International Trade (INTA) and Member of EU Parliament, said his visit is aimed at removing irritants in trade between the EU and Sri Lanka. more..

CSSL organizes ICT training for teachers

Mar 8 (Island) The Computer Society of Sri Lanka (CSSL), Sri Lanka’s only professional body for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) professionals has embarked on many initiatives to uplift the standards of ICT literacy among Sri Lankans. One such project is to provide necessary training on ICT skills for both students and teachers, who would be playing a key role in transforming Sri Lanka into an ICT hub in the region. A Teacher Training on Java Language for ICT teachers more..

SLFP members in Kandy Rally to face disciplinary action

Mar 8 (AM) SLFP has decided to take disciplinary action against those who took part in the rally in Kandy on March 6, to support former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. SLFP Media Spokesperson Dilan Perera told media that the party took this decision to safeguard the future of the party. The rally was organized by MEP, NFF, DLF and PHU to urge the SLFP to name former president Rajapaksa as the Prime Ministerial candidate for the next general election. more..

Rs. 300mn worth stagnant goods: Lanka Sathosa official on the mat

Mar 8 (Island) Amidst the interdiction of the procurement manageress of Lanka Sathosa last week, trade officials were aghast to discover more consignments of slow and non-moving commodities valued at over Rs. 300 million stagnating in shelves of this govt institution’s outlets island-wide. The officer on the mat has been charge-sheeted as inquiries have revealed that bulk stocks had been blindly ordered during the former more..

World sees Australia's blind spot

Mar 8 (CI) Indisputably, Australia have the pace bowling to win this World Cup. They also have the batting, now calibrated nicely by a shuffling of the order that has Steven Smith in optimum position to influence the course of the innings. But on a bewitching evening at the SCG, the hosts' suspected blind spot was revealed by a pitch on which they will have to win once more in order to progress to the tournament final. Sydney did not spin quite so much as expected, meaning Sri Lanka's bowlers more..

ITAK’s Sasitharan awaits disciplinary action

Mar 8 (NS) The ITAK is yet to take action regarding Eastern Provincial Councilor Anandi Sasitharan, who is also the assistant leader of the party’s women’s wing. Sasitharan was under threat of disciplinary action after participating in a protest conducted on Feb 21 in front of the bus depot in Jaffna. She had been seen transporting an effigy of MP M.A. Sumanthiran’s to the location of the protest in her vehicle. The effigy was later publically burned by the protestors. more..

29% of Sri Lanka female journos experienced work place sexual harassment

Mar 8 (ENS) Almost 29% of Sri Lankan female journalists have experienced sexual harassment in the work place according to the latest survey conducted by the IFJ. Dilrukshi Handunnetti, the author of the survey report, said that out of the 45 female respondents, 13 (ie: 28.8%) said that they had experienced sexual harassment in the work place. But this could well be the tip of the iceberg as most cases are not reported, more..

Stricter Implementation of Sri Lankan Intellectual Property Law

Mar 8 (Island) The govt has declared that Intellectual Property Law in Sri Lanka inclusive of Copyright Law will be revived and implemented stringently. This will go along with the implementation of the Right to Information which law is to be passed shortly. These are excellent steps in the right direction safeguarding the rights of the public to know; and to protect what they have produced through their intellect. Intellectual property is said to be the ‘fruit of human intellect’. more..

180,000 Chunnakam residents left without potable water

Mar 8 (ST) Over 18,000 people from Chunnkam in Jaffna are hapless as ground water contamination has left them no choice but to continue using the contaminated wells -their only natural source of drinking water. Residents complain the problem has been worsened as the Jaffna peninsula is not linked to any irrigation scheme and the farming community too has been affected. They charge, waste disposal from the Northern Power Plant for over five years has resulted in the well water being more..

Sri Lanka may release Jeyakumari, coinciding with Modi's visit

Mar 8 (AM) Coinciding with PM Narendra Modi's visit, Sri Lanka is likely to release Jeyakumari Balendran who has symbolised the fight against the alleged disappearance of thousands of people during the final stages of the war against the LTTE in 2009. Jeyakumari - who was arrested last year by the previous Rajapaksa regime - is likely to be released next week, govt sources said, adding the release is part of the more..

Private helicopter operators cry foul

Mar 8 (SO) The private domestic air transportation sector makes a salient contribution to the growth of the tourism industry. However, its contribution is stifled due to the absence of a level playing field for landing. Landing restrictions imposed in Colombo and certain other locations for private helicopter operators has hampered business. Except for Helitours operated by the Sri Lanka Air Force, private operators are not permitted to land in Colombo which is a key location for tourism. more..

Modi told to speak to all Tamils

Mar 8 (CG) Indian PM Narendra Modi has been urged to speak to all Tamil political parties in Sri Lanka on the Tamil issue and not just with the TNA. TULF General Secretary V. Anandasangaree said that dealing with the Tamil question is no more a monopoly of either the TNA or the ITAK. “There are several serious blunders the TNA had committed. TNA changed the course of history by their conduct, one of which was, on the instructions of the LTTE, prevented the Tamils from taking part in more..

That Double Murder in Meetiyagoda

Mar 8 (CT) Reminiscent of the late '80s JVP era, village of Domanvila, in Meetiyagoda, is being terrorized by an underworld gang's dabbling in the illicit liquor racket with the patronage of certain corrupt Police officers. Just recently, a businessman and his wife became the unfortunate victims of this nefarious criminal gang. They were shot dead at point blank range in a shed where they were observing Cinnamon oil being processed. more..

Street demonstrators harming own cause

Mar 8 (ST) The past few weeks have seen a plethora of street demonstrations and protests organised by trade unions and other groups in Colombo. During these protests, demonstrators have taken over main roads causing major traffic blocks and considerable inconvenience to pedestrians. As demonstrators occupy the main roads in the city, pedestrians and vehicles are forced to share the pavements putting the lives of pedestrians at risk. more..

Experts wary of giving fresh GSP+ hopes

Mar 8 (NS) While the Govt has pledged to reclaim the GSP+ facility for the benefit of the country’s apparel industry, independent analysts opine that Sri Lanka did not need such a facility at the current juncture as the sector had managed to grow over the past five years despite the removal of the facility. Professor of Economics, Dr. Ranjith Bandara stated that while the facility proved beneficial to local exporters, the reasons also included several aspects which were political. more..

Sushma meets Indian Tamil leaders

Mar 8 (ENS) visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj broke new political ground on Saturday when she met Indian Tamil leaders other than those associated with the Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC). Swaraj met Indian Tamil leaders currently associated with the Maithripala-Ranil govt and also non-political leaders of the Indian community. These were besides the customary meeting with the CWC, which is more..

Govt to renegotiate Expressway projects to lower costs: Kabir

Mar 8 (ST) Govt is to sign fresh agreements on Expressway construction projects to reduce their cost, Minister Kabir Hashim said. Accordingly, agreements on the extension of Southern Expressway project from Matara to Hambantota, and Northern Expressway project which will now be known as the Colombo-Kandy Highway project, will be renegotiated. He said that the cost of the Matara-Hambantota Expressway project is estimated to decrease by about 20% from original amount. more..

Japan pledges US$ 600m for BIA upgrade, electricity project

Mar 8 (ST) Japan has promised loans worth US$ 600 million to fund the second stage of Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) upgrade and a new project to establish Electricity transmission and distribution network. Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minoru Kiuchi, discussed details of the loans during his visit yesterday. Minister met with President Maithripala Sirisena, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera. more..

A Sri Lankan warzone’s fragile peace

Mar 8 (DB) For the 30-year duration of Sri Lanka’s civil war, the Jaffna peninsula was a Tamil Tiger stronghold. Now its natural beauty is superceding the brutal terror of the past. Whenever I told anyone in Sri Lanka that I was making the long trek to Jaffna, the northern town which is the heartland of Tamil culture, I was met with one of two reactions. Foreigners and other travellers expressed either admiration or envy. more..

International schools to be regulated

Mar 8 (NS) Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said the Ministry will regulate international schools throughout the island and a high level committee appointed to consider the matter has already met. He stated the committee comprised both education ministry officials and outsiders, including representatives of international schools. Proposals currently under discussion include introducing regulations that require all international schools to be registered with more..

Sanga becomes 2nd batsman to reach 14,000 ODI runs

Mar 8 (DM) Kumar Sangakkara became the first batsman after Sachin Tendulkar to register 14,000 runs in ODIs. Sangakkara needed 39 more runs to achieve the milestone when he came out to bat against Australia at Sydney Cricket Ground. The left-hander reached the landmark 14,000 runs in 14th over of Sri Lankan innings. Sangakkara has been in prolific touch and in his last two outings scored back to back centuries. He scored 73-ball century against Bangladesh and then against England more..

Insider dealing in Sri Lanka gilt markets to be probed by lawyer: report

Mar 8 (EN) A lawyer from outside the Central Bank will probe allegations of insider dealing in bond markets by a company connected the bank's Governor Arjuna Mahendran. Minister Harsha de Silva said that a full investigation will be launched on past and current allegations. "Insider trading that took place in the past - issues that I have raised (as an opposition lawmaker) - are continuing to happen," Minister said. more..