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Video: Still no response from Gotabaya on assets declaration: Ravi

Mar 14 (AD) Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake says that former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa is still to respond to his challenge to declare assets, although three weeks have passed. On February 12, Karunanayake had challenged Rajapaksa to declare his assets after the latter had given a statement to a local newspaper questioning the UNP MP’s purchase of certain properties. “It has been 3 week now. more..

Wikremesinghe overshadowed by Sirisena in Modi trip

Mar 14 (ANI) Prime Minister Ranil Wikremesinghe has had to take a back seat to President Maithripala Sirisena during the crucial and high profile trip of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the country. Today, while President Sirisena was with the Indian Prime Minister during his visit to the sacred city of Anuradhapura, standing next to Mr. Modi was President Sirisena when the Buddhist monks chanted hymns at the sacred Maha Bodhi tree. more..

Parents rewarded with chosen school for helping nab bribe-taking principals

Mar 14 (ST) Parents who helped the Bribery Commission arrest a school principal who demanded a bribe to admit their child to school in the Galle District, were rewarded by the Education Ministry, a senior official said. The reward was that the parents could admit their child to any school of their choice, said Education Ministry Secretary Upali Marasinghe. The principal of Labuduwa Siridhamma College, Galle, had demanded a bribe of Rs 35,000. more..

Modi Bonds with Lankan Tamils with Aplomb

Mar 14 (ENS) On the second and final day of his visit to Sri Lanka, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi bonded with the Tamils of the Northern Province with aplomb. The speeches which he made were extempore and in Hindi, but the Tamil audiences were not complaining as his words, delivered with panache, had a ring of sincerity. The audience went into raptures when Modi began his speech with a full throated Vanakkam (greetings) in Tamil. more..

5 fishermen hurt in fresh attack by Sri Lankan Navy

Mar 14 (ENS) In the first attack after the change of guard in Sri Lanka, five fishermen from the district were allegedly assaulted and chased away by the Sri Lankan navy personnel after snatching away their catch and nets in the sea off Kodiyakkarai coast on Tuesday. The five fishermen, identified as Balachandiran (48), Selvamani (46), Ajith (18), Selvanathan (37), and Singaravel (37) all from Nambiyar Nagar hamlet near Nagapattinam town, ventured into the sea in a Fibre Reinforced more..

J’pura Uni study board requests explanation into Namal’s dodgy PhD attempt

Mar 14 (CT) Study Board of the Jayawardenapura University has requested the Post Graduate Faculty to submit an explanation on the dubious procedure that was followed, which deemed Rajapaksa prince Namal eligible to follow the university’s PhD program. At a discussion on Namal Rajapaksa’s dodgy PhD attempt during last month’s meeting of the Study Board, it had been pointed out that the procedure followed, which authorized him to enter the PhD program has led to more..

PM to meet with Sri Lanka's old fox Rajapaksa

Mar 14 (ANI) Will he, won't he, was the question doing the rounds in Colombo and New Delhi for several days. Nobody was quite sure whether PM Narendra Modi would meet with the former Sri Lankan president, who lost hastily and some say foolishly called early election and then went on to blame the U.S. and Indian intelligence agencies for his fall. The old fox of Sri Lankan politics, however, tried to distance Prime Minister Modi from the 'coup charge' by attaching more..

Sri Lanka and India

Mar 15 (SO) Indian PM Narendra Modi's official visit to Sri Lanka, which ended yesterday, is hailed as the first such formal visit by an Indian governmental head since the visit by the late Rajiv Gandhi. The contrast in ambience and popular sentiment between the two visits could not be more stark. In 1987, Rajiv Gandhi arrived here in the midst of two anti-State insurgencies with whole communities mobilized in armed struggle in the North and South. Social violence swept the land articulating more..

Sri Lanka in the regional power game

Mar 15 (SL) Indian PM resurrected the flagging Indo-Lanka relations in his speech to the Sri Lanka parliament stressing on the importance of good bi-lateral relations between the two countries in promoting security interests in the region, bi-lateral trade, promoting South Asian co-operation and Indian Ocean Affairs. Overcast skies and pouring rain around the Sri J'pura Parliament did not dampen the cordial welcome extended to the Indian leader by a full house of parliament. more..

'India should have intervened'

Mar 15 (SO) The Chief Minister of the former United North-eastern Province, Varatharaja Perumal believes that India should have intervened, in the absence of political will at home, to ensure the continuity of a united North-eastern provincial Council. Perumal noted that the new govt has facilitated the TNA and instead of faultfinding, the TNA should have made strong attempts to seek a political solution to the ethnic question. more..

The Modi visit

Mar 15 (Island) What Indian PM Narendra Modi will say in Jaffna is eagerly awaited not only here in Sri Lanka but also in Tamil Nadu where ethnic relations between the Sinhalese and Tamils have always been a hot political topic. The distinguished visitor proffered the right sound bytes after his bilateral talks with President Sirisena and in his addresses to Parliament and the business community of both countries. It must not be forgotten that it was former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who more..

Good governance on hold?

Mar 15 (NS) Deputy Minister Harsha De Silva referring to the controversy surrounding the Central Bank bond issue (i.e. allegations of insider trade where Governor Arjuna Mahendran is on the spot over his son-in-law Arjun Aloysius making quite a packet within a few days) pats his PM and party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe on the back for appointing a 3-member committee to investigate relevant allegations. He says ‘good governance is about due process (and) should apply to all, more..

'I will contest, I have nothing to hide'

Mar 15 (SL) Following the defeat of former President Rajapaksa at the 2015 presidential elections, former Minister Mervyn Silva tried to distance himself from the Rajapaksa brothers and made an attempt to get close with President Maithripala Sirisena. Silva who was known to be a very close friend of the Rajapaksa family, appeared before the CID with files in his hand and made allegations against the former administration. more..

After Modi: Political chips for the fish

Mar 15 (ST) Indian PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Sri Lanka was hailed as the first bilateral visit by an Indian Head of Govt after 27 plus years. This is other than the attendance of Indian Premiers for a SAARC summit. In 2013, the then Indian Premier even boycotted the CHOGM held in Colombo. Of course, the last such bilateral visit of an Indian PM is best forgotten — except that it was a watershed in this country’s contemporary history which left its stamp on the way country is run up to date. more..

The importance of being Maithri

Mar 15 (ST) My dear Maithri, I know that you are busy these days travelling to London to visit the Queen and then, soon after your return, playing host to Modi. Still, I thought I must write to you to remind you that nearly two thirds of your ‘first 100 days’ have now passed and that we are still waiting for you to fulfil your promises. I know you are doing an extremely difficult job, Maithri. You have to divide your loyalties between the Blues with whom you have been doing politics for over forty years more..

'We have kept our promises'

Mar 15 (SL) The Govt as the Common Opposition during its election campaign promised important constitutional amendments, and now as promised the amendments are in the initial stages of formulation. The amendments are aimed at reducing the powers vested in the Executive Presidency and to bring in electoral reforms. Meanwhile the 17th amendment is to be re-implemented with certain improvements more..

Modi operandi has House in its spell

Mar 15 (ST) Sri Lanka Parliamentarians’ enthusiasm was not dampened by the heavy downpour around the Parliament Complex in Kotte on Friday afternoon, as they welcomed India’s PM Narendra Modi to address a special session of the House. Even though he had to ‘bypass’ the ceremonial red carpet laid out for him at the entrance to Parliament, as the unrelenting rain lashed down as he arrived at the Legislature, he was warmly welcomed by Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa as well as more..

SLFP in disintegration mode

Mar 15 (Island) Niroshan Padukka is the UNP organiser for Kesbewa and a member of the WPC. Early last week, he wrote a letter to the lankaenews website under the title Is President Maithri under house arrest? This letter just about sums up the present mood within the UNP and it is worth recounting what Padukka had written. He started off by expressing disappointment at the president for stopping the transfer of Samurdhi Officers whom he accused of spearheading Mahinda’s more..

'Swan symbol won’t be there at next election'

Mar 15 (NS) Dilan Perera entered mainstream politics in 1994 after having made his contributions to the nation at local govt level. He is a talented orator as well as a sports lover. Representing the Badulla District, he has offered his expertise in several ministries. Holding a commerce special degree, he is also qualified as an attorney-at- law. Recently he was appointed as the spokesperson of the SLFP. more..

The Central Bank bond fiasco

Mar 15 (NS) Controversy has plagued the recent Central Bank bond issue, where it is alleged that Governor Arjuna Mahendran’s son-in-law Arjun Aloysius had advanced information which was used to extract massive profits in judicious trading. Aloysius is reported to have sold several 5-10 year bonds at low interest rates and reinvested in the 30 year bond which had an unprecedented high interest rate of 12.5%. According to those familiar with such transactions, if the Govt had a serious more..

Treasury bond scandal rattles Ranil

Mar 15 (SL) The events surrounding the placing of a 30-year Treasury Bond continues to bother PM Wickremesinghe and his party. The more they bury their heads in the sand the more public perception grows that there has been an aura of suspicion in the transaction. Although the use of Treasury Bonds is as unfamiliar as snow to the public at large, opposition legislators have pointed out in real terms what the colossal amount can buy. One lawmaker explained the Rs 60 Billion additional cost by more..

Rookie Chameera set on pace and accuracy

Mar 15 (CI) Dushmantha Chameera is only 23 and is already being spoken of as the quickest of the Sri Lankan bowlers playing in the 2015 World Cup. He can clock speeds of more than 140kph and it was with one such delivery - 146kph - that he took the wicket of Ross Taylor on his ODI debut against New Zealand in Wellington. "From my small days I wanted to be a fast bowler," Chameera said. "No one in my family plays cricket it is more..

Merger with DFCC a valid call: NDB CEO

Mar 15 (NS) Chairman of National Development Bank (NDB), Rajendra Theagarajah last week said that the Bank has submitted their views to the formal committee appointed to review the previous regime’s banking sector consolidation process and explained to them why they believed the call for a merger was a valid one. The government-appointed committee headed by Chairman Dinesh Weerakkody met last week for their first official meeting and it is expected that an evaluation report more..

Three Coins & other McCallum brands to be soon brewed at Biyagama

Mar 15 (Island) The Carson Cumberbatch group of companies which last October acquired Millers Brewery Ltd. (MBL) in a Rs. 5.15 billion deal will soon begin brewing the well known brands Three Coins Lager, Sando Power, Irish Dark, Sando Stout and Grand Blond established by the McCallum Brewery Ltd. (predecessors to MBL) at the Biyagama facility of Lion Brewery, Ceylon Beverage Holdings PLC (CBHP), the holding company of Lion, has announced in its latest quarterly report. more..

From Mahinda’s Mahinda Chinthana to the Maithri-Ranil’s 100 Day Programme

Mar 15 (ST) Every successive Govt has, prior to an election, offered a package of promises captioned under a slogan. The slogans have varied from: Bringing rice from the moon to self-sufficiency in rice; Making Sinhala the official language within 24 hours; reconciliation; Wonder of Asia to 100 Day Programme. Among the promises offered the 100 Day Programme is unique and different. It contains 25 specific tasks more..

Primary dealers seek urgent meeting with CB on bond issue

Mar 15 (ST) Central Bank is yet to respond to a request from primary market dealers trading in Treasury bonds for an urgent meeting to discuss the crisis in the bond market exacerbated by allegations of insider trading, traders said. Soon after a crisis erupted on Friday Feb 27, 2015 when the CB accepted bids for Rs. 10 billion, 900 per cent more than the advertised amount of Rs. 1 billion, an association represented dealers met at an emergency session and decided to meet more..

XLRI breaks Sri Lanka's record to enter Guinness Book

Mar 15 (TOI) The XLRI School of Business and Human Resources, earned a place for itself in the Guinness Book of World Record in a hand washing relay, beating the Sri Lanka's existing record. The event was conducted by the marketing association of XLRI (MAXI) in association with Dettol India, on Jan 18 this year, during the institute's annual marketing fair. It saw the participation of more than 991 participants from Jamshedpur, and was accredited by the Guinness World Record more..

Vega’s super electric car to hit the roads next month for its first test drive

Mar 15 (ST) Sri Lankan Vega’s first super electric car after 11 months of production is about to hit the roads in the latter part of April for its first test drive, Vega car Project Manager Beshan Kulapala told the Business Times last week. Technology being one of the key aspect for a local company to come up with a marvelous project of this nature, Vega is about to unveil an outstanding Sri Lankan innovation to the world soon, he added. more..

'Ad-hoc tax systems will hit exporters adversely'

Mar 15 (SO) A set of effective policies and maintaining a conducive environment for the private sector to continue the growth momentum was vital. The Govt should not engage in business and needs to take measures to create a level playing field among the business community to encourage better returns, National Chamber of Exporters (NCE) President Sarada de Silva said. "We welcome the govt’s attitude towards good governance, accountability and rule of the law. more..

'Blame Rajapaksa, not China' President says on corruption

Mar 15 (AM) President Sirisena said that it is wrong to blame China for corruption in Chinese funded development projects in Sri Lanka, adding that all development projects launched under the former president Rajapaksa’s govt were corrupt. He said that it is not fair to accuse China or any other country for corruption. He added that China is a good investor for Sri Lanka. President further said that corruption was rife behind the façade of development during the former regime. more..

UDA sorts out certain contractual matters of TATA housing project

Mar 15 (ST) UDA will be sorting out certain contractual matters relating to TATA housing project in Slave Island, with the company due to hand over the construction work to a prospective Investor. “We are discussing some issues raised by some govt ministers and MPs with officials of India’s Tata Housing Development Company and all such matters will be sorted out by consultations, compromise and consensus,” more..

Villages not buying safety assurance

Mar 15 (NS) Chief Minister of the Wayamba Province Dayasiri Jayasekara assured that the Ceylluslose Roofing Sheet Factory being built in Anawilundawa, Chilaw will in fact be environmentally friendly. According to the Chief Minister, the residents have been misled to think otherwise. The satyagraha by residents opposing the construction of the factory has reached its eleventh day while Ven. Wilpotha Pemananda Thera has threatened to carry out a fast unto death protest if more..

Human limbs found in canal

Mar 15 (CT) Two severed human legs were found in a canal, in the Dematagoda area, the Police Media Unit said yesterday. Some other body parts were also discovered by the police, following information received. Police have a strong suspicion that the legs and other parts discovered belonged to the same person. Police are conducting investigations. Meanwhile, the body of a 50-year-old man was recovered by the police from a canal in Ja-Ela on Friday (13). more..

Aides absent at meet with Rajapaska

Mar 15 (Hindu) In a personal gesture, PM Narendra Modi ended his two-day visit to Sri Lanka on Saturday with a meeting with the former President Rajapaksa, who was ousted from power in elections in January. The meeting, requested on behalf of Mr. Modi by Indian officials, comes just days after Mr. Rajapaksa, in an interview to The Hindu, accused RAW of conspiring to organise the opposition against him. more..

Former SEC official traded in stocks

Mar 15 (ST) Complaints have been received by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) pertaining to transactions carried out by a former top official. SEC officials are not supposed to trade on shares while holding office and when they do, it has to be communicated to the Commission members for approval. While the complaint hasn’t been examined as yet, it was established that the said official had changed certain SEC rules to unload some shares while in office, more..

Clarity on 15% interest helps some, hurts others

Mar 15 (ST) The Central Bank on Friday overcame one problem relating to the confusion of the special 15% interest rate for senior citizens but appears to have created another issue, analysts said. Fielding criticism that senior citizens who reach 60 years after the cut—off date of Jan 31, 2015 are ineligible unless they had old accounts, the CB said it was issuing a new directive on Saturday to banks permitting senior citizens who retire after Jan 31, 2015 to open a new account more..

UPFA wants constitutional and electoral reforms in one go

Mar 15 (ST) UPFA decided last night that both constitutional and electoral reforms should be presented together in Parliament. The unanimous decision came at a meeting chaired by President Maithripala Sirisena. It was held to discuss the 19th Amendment to the Constitution circulated by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe at Thursday’s meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers. Premier Wickremesinghe sought approval for more..

Modi promises support to plantation Tamils

Mar 15 (Hindu) PM Narendra Modi assured leaders representing Indian-origin Tamils in Sri Lanka that New Delhi would further engage with them to appreciate their concerns. “Mr. Modi told us that he was beginning to learn more about issues of Tamils living in southern Sri Lanka,” DPF Leader Mano Ganesan, part of the delegation that met him in Colombo on Saturday, told The Hindu. Mr. Modi invited the leaders to New Delhi for further discussions and information, and assured more..

Govt snubs C4

Mar 15 (SL) Govt has dismissed the Channel 4 Sinhala version of the No Fire Zone – killing Field of Sri Lanka. Deputy Minister Ajith Perera said that the Channel 4 allegations will not seriously affect the country. The video clip has been there for a while and the only difference is that they have launched a Sinhala version now and it would not do any serious damage to the country. “When the Sinhala version of the Killing Field of SL was screened in Westminster there were only 9 MPs to watch the video. more..

Bond issue: Probe begins amid growing demand for CB Governor to step down

Mar 15 (ST) Three lawyers nominated by the UNP began their investigations this week on a controversial Treasury bond issue that has rocked the ruling party as demands grew this week for under-fire Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran to quit or ‘take leave of absence’ while the probe was pending. The Governor is being investigated for alleged ‘insider dealing’ and allegedly helping his son-in-law Arjun Aloysius’ company more..