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Govt seeks to extend law that it once opposed

Mar 15 (ST) Parliament will debate on Tuesday a notification by Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe that seeks to extend for two more years a controversial law which was opposed by the ruling UNP when it was in opposition. The law allows the Police to detain for up to 48 hours persons arrested without a warrant on charges of murder and other serious crimes. Justice Minister has gazetted the order to extend for two years the operation of the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure more..

Woman Sea Tiger’s arrest bares global LTTE financial links: Police

Mar 15 (SO) The arrest at the Colombo Airport last week of a former woman ‘Sea Tiger’ has exposed new global Tiger financing networks with continued links in Sri Lanka. The husband of Bagrathy Murugesu, the ex-Sea Tiger woman Commander arrested at the BIA as she prepared to board a flight to Paris, lives in France and is identified as the main financial controller of the LTTE’s diaspora-based global finance networks. The husband, Subramaniam Jeyganesh, is suspected to be more..

Premier presents 62-page constitutional amendment, but deadlock over deadline

Mar 15 (ST) A new crisis within the rainbow coalition, just 66 days old, deepened this week. At issue is a 62-page draft Bill titled the 19th Amendment to the Constitution presented at Thursday’s meeting of Cabinet of Ministers by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. A heated discussion ensued with two non-UNP Ministers, Champika Ranawaka and Rajitha Senaratne raising strong objections. They contended that this draft did not take into more..

Modi’s visit, a channel change from the Central Bank’s bondgate fiasco

Mar 15 (Island) Changing the channel in North American parlance means a govt, or political organization, trying to inject a positive news story in the media to divert public attention from a negative news story that is dominating the news channels. So Modi’s visit was a channel changing opportunity after the UNP section of the yahapalanaya govt had gone and bought itself a bondgate, courtesy of the Central Bank. In his address to parliament, PM Modi appealed to the govt, and to the country more..

The Intellectual Property Act of Sri Lanka under Amendment

Mar 15 (Island) I wrote last week about intellectual property and the legislation covering it, including copyright, the laws of which are to be tightened. Conversing with some friends who have had books of theirs published, I found that copyright is a very nebulous concept in Sri Lanka. I should add so far, since things in this sphere are to be greatly improved. An author said that a well known children’s book of hers had been plagiarized and published and put out for sale with a few more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Mar 15 (ST) It was a heated session of the National Executive Council (NEC) last Monday when former President Chandrika Kumaratunga picked up a mobile phone to speak to Defence Ministry Secretary K.M.U.D. Basnayake. She was angry. “Who the hell asked you to issue a letter to Nissanka Senadipathi, the Chairman of Avant Garde Maritime Security?” she demanded. She went on “that too had been prepared last Sunday when more..

Fishermen to leave for Sri Lanka to bring back boats

Mar 15 (PTI) A total of 135 fishermen from various coastal hamlets in the state would leave from here for Sri Lanka tomorrow morning to bring back the 87 boats seized by the island nation in 2014. M Gopinath, Assistant Director, Fisheries department, here told PTI that fishermen from this coastal town, Mandapam, Pudukottai and Nagapattinam would leave from here in 20 boats tomorrow to Sri Lanka for the purpose. more..

Axe on Shasheendra’s Basnayake Nilame post

Mar 15 (ST) A directive issued by the previous govt to enable Sasheendra Rajapaksa to continue to hold the post of Basnayake Nilame of Ruhunu Maha Katharagama Devalaya after he was elected as the Uva Province Chief Minister has been revoked. Minister Karu Jayasuriya through a Gazette notification revoked the directive and another directive that extended his term as Basnaayke Nilame for two years after more..

Moment of truth for Sri Lanka

Mar 15 (NS) For the best part of the 2015 World Cup qualifying round, Sri Lanka have been flirting rather dangerously with their bowling and fielding with several question marks hanging over the two departments. For much of the six qualifying matches it has been their batting that has carried them through and compensated for any shortcomings in the other two areas. Sri Lanka recorded four wins and two losses out of their Pool A matches more..

Move to ban racist groups

Mar 15 (SL) Govt is looking at presenting a new bill in Parliament to ban religious and racist organizations in the country. PC Member Azath Salley said that Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera had made this statement during a meeting with members of the UK parliament House of Commons. The foreign minister made this statement in response to queries raised by the members of the House of Commons more..

'Sri Lanka's highway robbery prevented by change of govt'

Mar 15 (EN) A Sri Lankan transport expert has revealed how crooked politicians and contractors connived to wilfully dismantle normal procedures and inflate costs of highway projects, mostly Chinese funded and built, that could be done at half the cost. Calling it an attempted highway robbery, Amal Kumarage, a senior professor in the Department of Transport & Logistics Management at the University of Moratuwa, called for better more..

'New SL govt making fantastic advances towards reconciliation'

Mar 15 (Island) Camllum Macrae, the director of the controversial documentary Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields said that the new Sri Lanka govt is making fantastic advances towards reconciliation and he is happy that the people had shown courage and bravery by defeating Rajapaksa regime. "By dismissing the former govt, the SL masses have clearly indicated that they do not accept repression, corruption and nepotism", he noted. more..

Champika threatens to fight Govt

Mar 15 (CT) The JHU said if amendments to the Constitution were submitted to Parliament, without the electoral reforms being included and if the President comes under the the PM, they would vote against it. JHU General Secretary Champika Ranawaka said the JHU was strongly opposed to the draft of the amendments to the Constitution being submitted to Parliament, without reaching an agreement, subsequent more..

Mixed feelings in Sri Lanka on Modi visit

Mar 15 (ENS) Feelings in Sri Lanka after the two-day visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are mixed, both among the Sinhalese majority and the Tamil minority. To look at the brighter side first, Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena described the visit as a blessing and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe lauded Modi’s speech in parliament as a clarion call to take Lanka-India relations to new heights. more..

'It was like a piece of rubber snapping inside my thigh'

Mar 15 (ST) A disappointed Dinesh Chandimal returned to Sri Lanka after his little cameo that nearly brought Sri Lanka an unexpected win and the rest of the World Cup for him. In fact he nearly missed his Singapore connection from Hobart after the flight that was due to leave at 9.45 a.m. took to the air only at 1.50 p.m. Chandimal said “Angi (Angelo Mathews) and I were going well and we were keeping to the plan. more..

Elected Presidency! Double-bubble toil-and-trouble

Mar 15 (Island) When Candidate Sirisena reneged on his promise to abolish the Executive Presidency he became the third leader following CBK and MR who has been deceitful. MoU which launched Sirisena’s campaign reads: "The present executive presidential system will be abolished within a hundred days and replaced by a Parliamentary form accountable to the people. Under the Parliamentary system, the President will symbolize national unity and have duties and powers appropriate to more..

Towards a Lankan Nation?

Mar 15 (Island) Jezima Ismail is not a Saudophile; she is not even a Wahabist or a Salafist. She is a moderate Muslim. Moreover, she is a distinguished pedagogue, a citizen Sri Lanka can be proud of. But in the eyes of the obviously Sinhala (and possibly Buddhist) professor, even such a woman is not truly a Lankan. In his eyes, she does not have the same feelings for Sri Lanka that he has, because she is a Muslim. In his eyes, only a Sinhalese (most probably a Sinhala-Buddhist) can be a real Lankan; more..

Discussion paper on constitutional reform

Mar 15 (Island) LSSP appreciates that steps are being taken under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena to bring about the long overdue Constitutional Reforms. We offer our fullest support to these efforts and wish them all success. Our preliminary observations are given below: 1.  In view of the great sacrifice that President Maithripala Sirisena is making in the interest of the nation, LSSP has no objection more..

Diabetes is an enormous social and economic problem in Sri Lanka

Mar 15 (Island) Diabetes is a huge social and economic problem in Sri Lanka as the debilitating disease could lead to foot ulcers resulting in amputation, leaving whole families devastated when the breadwinner is rendered immobile, Dr. Rezni Cassim, Specialist in Angiology and Vascular Surgery, cautioned. He said that 10% of Sri Lankans suffering from diabetes risk developing foot ulcers and could end up losing a leg. "It all starts with a small ulcer and 66% of patients of more..

PM Modi's historic visit to Lanka will pave way for stronger ties: BJP

Mar 15 (ANI) Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday termed PM Narendra Modi's recent visit to Sri Lanka as historic and said that it would pave the way for strong ties between both nations. "PM Narendra Modi's visit after three decades has proved to be a historic visit. PM's visit to Jaffna has sent a very positive message to Tamils living in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. He also flagged of the fishermen issue and his address to the SL Parliament was very grandly appreciated. more..

'We know how to cope with pressure'

Mar 15 (CI) Sri Lanka's batsmen have the most runs and appearances of any top order in the competition. Lasith Malinga has more wickets than any other quick still alive in the tournament. Sri Lanka have relied on that experience to move past the softer opponents in their group, but as the tournament heads into sudden death now, they believe they have a further advantage. In the two most recent World Cups, Sri Lanka have more..

WC 2015: West Indies beat UAE

Mar 15 (CI) Play began in muggy conditions and prospects of a shower or two - heralds of Cyclone Pam - could not be ruled out in the afternoon. Jason Holder, the West Indies captain, did his bit - win the toss, choose to bowl and put the UAE top order into a shredder - to set his team a target of 176 in 36.2 overs to ensure a place in the quarter-final, barring a tie in the Pakistan-Ireland game. West Indies' batsmen chased down the total in 30.3 overs, and once Sarfraz Ahmed's ton more..

WC 2015: Pakistan beat Ireland

Mar 15 (CI) Pakistan lost their opening two matches of the World Cup; Ireland won their opening two matches. But it was the former who progressed to the quarter-finals with a reasonably polished seven-wicket victory in Adelaide to mean that the knockouts will be populated solely by Full Members. An opening stand of 120 ensured against any concerns for Pakistan and Sarfraz Ahmed, just two matches into his comeback, struck his maiden ODI hundred - their first century of the tournament more..

Keep an eye on de Villers, SL PM tells team

Mar 15 (PTI) Wishing the Sri Lankan team ahead of their knockout quarterfinal clash against South Africa, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Sunday warned the Angelo Mathews-led side to "keep an eye on" Proteas skipper AB de Villiers" who has been in rampaging form in the tournament. "You have become the pride of our nation, we in turn request you to become victorious", Wickremesinghe told players ahead of their knockout match more..

PM Narendra Modi does a balancing act in SL

Mar 15 (ET) A day after offering a slew of sops to Colombo and nudging the govt to protect the rights of Tamils, PM Narendra Modi did a balancing act on Saturday by visiting the Tamil-dominated Jaffna — the first Indian PM to do so — with an eye on providing solace to war victims and making a trip to the Buddhist heartland of Anuradhapura to pay religious homage. In Jaffna, Modi handed over homes built with the help of Indian assistance to Tamils, saying that the houses are more..

'Consumers third force in power sector'

Mar 15 (NS) The electricity consumer has emerged as the ‘third force’ in the power sector in addition to administrators and unions, Minister Champika Ranawaka said. He was speaking at the launching ceremony of the ‘Statement of Rights and Responsibilities of Electricity Consumers’ and ‘Supply Services Codes’ held at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute. Speaking further, the minister also said while the govt had mostly achieved the goal of providing electricity to all the citizens, more..

UNP targets Parliament majority

Mar 15 (CG) The UNP today said it will set a target to obtain a majority in Parliament at the next Parliament elections. UNP leader and PM, Ranil Wickremesinghe said that UNP still wants to form a National unity Govt after the Parliament elections. However he said, at the same time, UNP will look to obtain more seats in Parliament by fielding several candidates at the polls. “Let us get the majority. But let us also form a National Govt to more..

Search for Kumar continues

Mar 15 (SL) The controller of Immigration and Emigration had submitted a written request to the IGP last Friday, urging him to appoint a team of intelligence sleuths to locate and arrest the politburo member of the FSP Kumar Gunaratnam alias Noel Mudalige who is evading arrest and is in hiding. Prior to this occasion too, all police stations were alerted and instructions were issued to arrest Kumar Gunaratnam. Though a joint operation between the special investigations unit of more..

Wimal Weerawansa skips UPFA party leaders' meeting

Mar 15 (AM) NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa reportedly did not attend the UPFA Central Working Committee meeting yesterday. The meeting was held with the participation of party leaders of UPFA at SL Foundation Institute. Until recently, NFF was considered part of the UPFA, although there is no formal, signed agreement between NFF and UPFA or NFF and SLFP. In a recent TV interview, opposition leader Nimal Siripala de Silva said that NFF is not a partner in the UPFA. more..

UPFA accepts Dinesh committee report as basis for electoral reform

Mar 15 (AM) SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa stated that the UPFA leadership agreed to consider the Dinesh Gunawardena Committee Report as the basis for further discussions on the electoral reforms. This decision was taken at the UPFA Central Working Committee meeting yesterday. Yapa added that UPFA leaders gave considerable attention to issue of electoral reforms more..

Kotte land forcibly taken over

Mar 15 (SL) Kotte Mayor Janaka Ranawaka said that a letter was being prepared to President Maithripala Sirisena, informing him that three lands worth Rs. 4800 million belong to the Kotte Municipal Council had been forcibly taken over by the Urban Development Authority. These pieces of land have been taken over by the Chairman of the UDA under the instructions of the Former Secretary of the Defence Ministry. Of these plots of land (about 10 acres) which were forcibly acquired, more..

MR may contest with ASP’s party

Mar 15 (CG) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa may contest the next General Elections under the Sri Lanka Labour Party headed by former Presidential candidate A S P Liyanage. The former President is considering the option in the event the SLFP does not approve his nomination papers to contest the polls. Liyanage said that he had talks with the former President and is prepared to offer Rajapaksa nomination papers under his political party. He said that he will be holding more..

Cabinet approves 19-A draft bill

Mar 15 (CG) The cabinet, which had a special meeting today, has approved the draft bill on the 19th Amendment to the constitution and will submit it to Parliament for approval. Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said that the special cabinet meeting took place following a party leaders meeting today. Cabinet could not agree on the electoral system and so party leaders in the Govt will meet again on Tuesday to iron out the differences. more..

Sri Lanka Navy denies allegations

Mar 15 (AD) Sri Lanka Navy on Sunday totally denied allegations that a naval troop of attacking a group of Indian fishermen off Katchatheevu sea. Army spokesman Brigadier Jayanath Jayaweera told Ada Derana that such incident of an attack on Indian fishermen had never taken place. However, several Indian news agencies alleged that naval personnel had allegedly attacked some five fishermen when they were fishing near Katchatheevu on Saturday (14) afternoon. more..

Iranian arrested for spraying perfume on monk

Mar 15 (DM) An Iranian working at the Uma Oya Project in Wellawaya was arrested on charges of having sprayed perfume on the Rakhkhithakanda Raja Maha Viharaya Chief Incumbent’s face yesterday, the Police said. A tense situation prevailed between the local workers and the villagers after they protested over the unloading a tractor of swage to the river which flows near the temple. Police said the Iranian had arrived at the scene with three others and argued with more..

Maithripala Sirisena appointed UPFA Chairman

Mar 15 (AM) President Maithripala Sirisena was appointed as the Chairman of UPFA, at the meeting of its Central Working Committee yesterday. He is also the Chairman of SLFP, the largest party in the UPFA. Meanwhile, Janaka Bandara Tennakoon replaced Basil Rajapaksa as the National Organizer of the Alliance. Mahinda Amaraweera was appointed as Deputy Secretary of the UPFA. However, Susil Premajayantha more..

India can't write off Rajapaksa yet

Mar 15 (NIP) Back in 1975 when the founder of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rahman, was assassinated in cold blood on August 15 at his residence in Dhaka, there were fingers raised legitimately at the Indian spy agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), for failing to anticipate such a conspiracy to wipe out a friend of India who was the fledgling country’s first prime minister. Fast forward to today when the recently defeated Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa told more..

Jaffna through the eyes of India TV reporter

Mar 15 (ITV) Jaffna peninsula of Sri Lanka has witnessed the bloodiest of violence in recent history. What used to be a LTTE governed territory till 2009 and it was only after almost a three decade long gruesome Civil war , Sri Lankan govt took control of the region. India TV reporter reached those places where the signs of terror could still be found. Jaffna was LTTE chief Prabhakaran’s stronghold, where he planned all his battles. It has been witness to massacres, atrocities by both more..

New support staff for SL missions abroad to aid expat workers

Mar 15 (ST) A fresh recruitment drive for some 100-plus Labour attaches and support staff for the country’s overseas missions is to be launched tomorrow, a senior official said. Screening of the new cadre, drawn mainly from the Labour & Foreign Employment Ministry and the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLFEB), will be by a special committee appointed by Foreign Employment Minister, Thalatha Athukorale, more..

Magistrate questions DIG how police bail was given to accused

Mar 15 (ST) Colombo Fort Magistrate Thilina Gamage on Friday called for a report from Colombo DIG Gamini Mathurata how police bail was granted to a neuro-surgeon who was accused of assaulting and injuring a guest at an event in a five star hotel in Colombo. Magistrate said the Police had no authority to grant police bail on their own. The case has been filed after separate complaints were lodged in the Colombo Fort Police station following an incident that occurred at the ZONTA more..