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Academics, artistes want anti-dictatorship safeguards

Mar 21 (CT) Prominent academics and professionals, including artistes and attorneys, have urged the govt to ensure that all loopholes in the constitution are blocked to ensure no room is allowed for a dictatorship to rear its head in the country again. They urge the govt to specifically ensure that Draft 19th Amendment Act that is to be shortly tabled in Parliament clearly defines that President would be the Head of State more..

BBS asks President to pardon Sigiriya girl

Mar 21 (DM) The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) today requested President Maithripala Sirisena to pardon Uthayasiri who was jailed on charges of have scribbled on the Sigiriya mirror wall instead of creating communal disharmony on matters such as the national anthem. BBS General Secretary Galagodaahthe Ganansara Thera said the President could pardon the girl by using his presidential powers. He said not only Sigiriya but other archaeological sites must also be protected. more..

Fishermen talks on March 24, 25

Mar 21 (CG) SL govt has agreed to talks between Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen on March 24 and 25 in Chennai. Fisheries Ministry said that a 10 member delegation representing the Sri Lankan fishermen’s associations and 9 officials will attend the talks from Sri Lanka. Tamil Nadu govt had this week written to the Union govt in India stating that talks between the fishermen of TN and SL be held in Chennai on March 24. Originally, State wanted to have talks on Mar 5, but SL was for Mar 11. more..

MP borrowed Rs 1 million from Wele Suda

Mar 21 (CT) The Recording Information Book (RIB) in which statements of infamous drug kingpin Wele Suda, alias Samantha Kumara, were recorded, has gone missing, the Opposition charged in Parliament, demanding to know how the investigation would now proceed. UPFA MP Shantha Bandara made this allegation demanding to know what steps the govt would take to recover the missing book. more..

NFF to defy UPFA leadership

Mar 21 (CT) The NFF has decided to defy the UPFA leadership, if necessary, to promote the candidacy of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the next General Election. NFF political council member Piyasiri Wijenayake said it is the wish of the constituent parties in the alliance that Rajapaksa should be named the prime ministerial candidate and that the SLFP cannot ignore their wish. "Its the duty of the SLFP, as the main constituent partner in the alliance, to ensure the UPFA's victory more..

Sri Lanka - Pakistan to sign an MoU on Sports Development

Mar 21 (GDI) The Govt of Sri Lanka intends to enter into an Agreement with the Govt of Pakistan for the purpose of strengthening the cooperation in the field of sports. Among other sports, such as Football, Squash and Hockey in Pakistan the most popular sport is cricket while the traditional sport in that country is Kabaddy. Besides these sports, the people of Pakistan take interest in Badminton, Baseball, Athletics, Boxing, Chess, Cycling, Gymnastic, Golf, Rugby and Tennis. more..

Key Western allies of govt to avoid SF Field Marshal ceremony

Mar 21 (DN) Several prominent foreign ambassadors and heads of diplomatic missions in Colombo will refrain from attending former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka's Field Marshal ceremony tomorrow, highly placed Foreign Ministry sources said. The heads of diplomatic missions from the US, Canada, UK, Germany, France and EU will refrain from attending General Sarath Fonseka's ceremony more..

Sri Lanka super gains tax to be applied to groups, individual firms

Mar 21 (EN) Sri Lanka's super gains tax, a 25% additional income tax will apply to individual entities and consolidated accounts of groups of companies, according to proposed to tax laws approved by the cabinet of ministers. The tax will apply to any person or company who has a taxable income of more than 2.0 billion rupees in taxable income based on audited financial statements in the tax year starting April 2013. It will also apply to groups of companies, where aggregate before income tax profits of more..

Sri Lanka Chamber of Pharmaceutical responds to bribery allegations

Mar 21 (DN) Referring to recent media reports, which pointed towards bribery and corruption involving the pharmaceutical industry as a whole, SL Chamber of Pharmaceutical Industry went on record saying that they wished to clearly distance themselves from such allegations. Chamber reiterated that it has and will always support the NMRA as a necessary requirement for the healthcare sector, a fact they say, has been communicated many times to the authorities. more..

'CB bond issued to pay debts of former govt'

Mar 21 (CT) Parliament was informed that Central Bank Governor Arjun Mahendran had to resort to selling treasury bonds in order to raise money to repay loans taken by the Economic Development Minister of the former Rajapaksa regime. Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva made this statement in Parliament in response to a query "How can a Singaporean citizen be appointed as Governor of Central Bank? more..

Port City environment report derailed?

Mar 21 (CT) Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environmental Authority said it was unable to prepare an Environment Assessment Report (EAR) on the Colombo Port City Project because the Colombo Ports Authority had, as yet, not submitted the data required for its compilation. Mahaweli Ministry Secretary Nihal Rupesinghe said that the Chinese Construction company executing construction of the Project had also made inquiries from the ministry in connection with the EAR. more..

'Basil Rajapaksa rumored to be in Vietnam'

Mar 21 (AM) Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva told Parliament that former Minister Basil Rajapaksa was rumored to be in Vietnam. Answering a question raised by UPFA MP Lalith Dissanayake on alleged increase of state debt through the recent Treasury bond issue, he said that no such increase happened. However, the govt is facing the mammoth task of repaying the loans obtained by the previous govt, he added. Basil Rajapaksa, who was responsible for economic affairs at that time, more..

Lankans slam bid to invite Dalai Lama

Mar 21 (ENS) The reported bid by a leading Sri Lankan Buddhist monk to invite the Dalai Lama to the island nation, has received flak from official as well as non-official quarters here. “It will stir up a hornet’s nest, as it goes against SL’s time honored One China policy. Lankans are acutely aware of the fact that China does not like any country inviting the Dalai Lama,” said a senior official of Foreign Ministry, requesting anonymity. more..

Fresh water crisis looming: Jala Palanaya now

Mar 21 (DM) To stabilise and sustain the new era of good governance, democracy, accountability and social justice, Sri Lanka’s citizens need to go beyond just voting at elections and then being spectators of what is happening or not happening. This is the time, this is the moment for citizens to co-operate in the mission of building a new Sri Lanka and challenge govt when there is a lack of transparency and accountability or when politicians plunder the country instead of serving the people. more..

D.S. Senanayaka: The prodigious first PM of Independent Ceylon

Mar 21 (DM) Mr. D.S. Senanayaka, a name most revered and more valued with time, now, more than ever acknowledged as an unparalleled colossus, is remembered sadly on 22ndMarch, a day on which 63 years ago tragedy befell him and stunned this entire island nation and plunged its people into grief at the news of his demise. The Memorial Day commemoration this year would be held on Sunday at Independence Square. The great life of the father of the nation, Mr. D.S. Senanayaka, born on more..

Match fever and making sense of all this March madness

Mar 21 (FT) The schools-side ‘Big Matches’ have come and gone. The Sydney-side Big Match fizzled out in a trail of sparks. The fever-pitch excitement is beginning to die down, all round. But as the boys and the “boys and old boys” pack up their troubles in their old kitbags and smile, smile, smile, through the tears, there are some aspects of cricket, lovely cricket, that refuse to fade away. And in this piece, we examine some of more..

Singing the National Anthem in Tamil hailing Mother Lanka as Sri Lanka Thaaye

Mar 21 (DBS) Once upon a time there was a Beautiful Island with wonderful people that was regarded as God’s own country. After gaining Independence from a colonial power the modern nation with an ancient civilisation adopted a national anthem of its own. Anthem was written in language spoken by the majority of its inhabitants. Subsequently it was translated into language widely spoken by three of its minority communities. more..

Where abuse ends and healing begins

Mar 21 (ST) It was on the humid morning of last Monday that Lama Piyasa was ceremonially opened at the Ragama Rehabilitation Hospital amidst a distinguished gathering. Set amidst the sprawling and tranquil acreage of the Ragama Rehabilitation Hospital, Lama Piyasa occupies its very own niche under a spreading flamboyant. A pleasing green has been the choice for the exterior of this haven, blending well with the large more..

Professor of Surgery blunder

Mar 21 (SL) Questions have been raised by FUTA as to why the former Chairperson of the UGC failed to rectify a blunder that was made during her tenure as the Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo after an inquiry panel appointed by the Higher Education Ministry recommended her to rectify the fault immediately. Prof. Kshanika Hirimburegama is accused of not following the UGC Circular 869 of Nov 2005 more..

Cops try to muscle in on Excise functions

Mar 21 (ST) Enforcement officers of Excise Department have protested over covert moves to allow the police to share some of their work in regard to the monitoring and inspection of licensees of alcohol outlets in the country. The Excise men fear that this move would leave its 1000-strong cadre in limbo with no real duties and therefore they have taken the issue up with the highest authorities in a bid to prevent such a move. more..

US delegation happy with Sri Lanka

Mar 21 (CG) A US delegation, which visited Sri Lanka to assess the climate for religious freedom, other human rights, and tolerance, have noted progress on the issues in SL since the country’s 2015 election. US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) said that it was encouraged by statements made by officials with whom they met, in particular welcome comments in support of national reconciliation among more..

Arjuna lashes out at selectors

Mar 21 (Island) Arjuna Ranatunga made a scathing attack on the national selection panel for lack of planning after Sri Lanka’s poor show in the World Cup. Sri Lanka crashed out of the competition with a nine wicket defeat to South Africa in the quarter-final at SCG. The former champions returned home with wins over Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Scotland and England and failed to beat any team that were ranked above them. more..

No threat to Indian PM in Jaffna

Mar 21 (CG) India has denied reports of a security breach when Indian PM Narendra Modi was in Jaffna during his Sri Lanka visit. Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin, responding to a question posed to him by an Indian journalist on the alleged incident, said that newspaper reports of a security breach was fiction masquerading as fact. “Shubhojit, every morning when I get up and open newspapers more..

Tamara to take legal action against Mangala

Mar 21 (DM) Former Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam today said she is currently seeking the possibility of taking legal action against Minister Mangala Samaraweera against the statements he had made concerning her, alleging the former diplomat was one who ‘came forward on behalf of the LTTE’. Kunanayakam held a special press conference today in order to respond to the accusations allegedly made against her by more..

Rumpus over national anthem

Mar 21 (Island) The govt came under fire in Parliament yesterday over President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to allow the national anthem to be sung both in Sinhala and Tamil. The trouble erupted when a retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera, MP strongly objected to the govt’s decision. UPFA MP Weerasekara said that to allow the singing of the national anthem in Tamil was against the Constitution. more..

Narendra Modi's goodwill bridge to the Island

Mar 21 (CT) Indian PM, Narendra Modi, inaugurated the train service between Talaimannar Pier and Mannar on 13 March before continuing with his journey to Jaffna during his stay in the Island last week. The Northern railway lines beyond Medawachchiya and Vavuniya were in total disarray due to the civil strife which had lasted for three decades in the North and the East. Soon after arriving in the Island Indian Premier, Narendra Modi, addressed Parliament to a full house more..

Making a bad law good

Mar 21 (CT) On Thursday, Parliament passed a law which allows the police to detain a suspect for 48 hours without a court warrant. This law however, is not permanent. It has to be renewed once in two years. It was passed with 54 votes for, and one opposing, in a 225 seat Parliament. The article quoted Justice Minister Wijayadasa Rajapakshe in the parliamentary debate that ensued in this connection, if it may be called a debate, as there was only one MP opposing it, more..

Colombo Fashion Forecast: Episode 7

Sri Lanka must emerge from its tragic contemporary history

Mar 21 (CT) Passing an age of decimation of civil liberties and individual freedom, carried out in the name of fighting manufactured enemies of choice, any civic choice will have shackled citizens to an interconnected police and security state, unprecedented in contemporary Sri Lankan political history before the previous regime. In a tyrannic serfdom, the freedom of the wild ass is no freedom at all, as the popular dictum exclaims, while the search for unbridled power and more..

NUF says small parties should not be reason for backtracking on electoral reforms

Mar 21 (Island) National United Front (NUF) urged Minister Rajitha Senaratne to ensure that the govt implemented electoral reforms as promised in the election manifesto of President Maithripala Sirisena before the next general election. NUF leader M.M. Zuhair PC, who was accompanied by a delegation comprising Dr. M.I.M. Muhseen, Attorneys-at-law U. Abdul Najeem, M.C.M. Muneer, Dr. M. Rumi, M.Y.B. Mukrram and S.I.M. Minzar told Dr. Senaratne that there was no need for a delimitation more..

'Sri Lankan girl, Eliza Foneska, refused visa because she has Down syndrome'

Mar 21 (ABC) A Sri Lankan family who want to work in a Christian crisis centre in remote Australia say their daughter was refused a temporary visa because she has Down syndrome. The Immigration Department issued a temporary work visa to eight-year-old Eliza Fonseka's parents, but not to the child, because she was considered to be a "significant cost to the Australian community in the areas of health care". more..

CC interest rate ceiling from April 1

Mar 21 (ST) Interest rates on lending through credit cards will carry a ceiling of 8% more than the market rate in contrast to the present 24%, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. This directive will be given in one of the three circulars to give effect to proposals announced in the interim budget on January 29 and clear the confusion over this, he said. The ceiling on the interest rates on lending through credit cards will come into effect from April 1. Minister said Central Bank’s supervision more..

New Zealand beat West Indies to enter semis

Mar 21 (CI) A double-century in a ODI is not quite passé, but has become more common than ever seemed possible. A double-century in a World Cup quarter-final? That is something truly special. Martin Guptill's unbeaten 237 was the highest World Cup score of all time and the second-highest in all ODIs, but most importantly it ensured New Zealand's progression to World Cup semi-finals for the 7th time. Nobody in the partisan crowd in Wellington will ever forget Guptill's innings. more..

India, US assisting probe on MR

Mar 21 (CG) India and the United States are assisting Sri Lanka in the investigation to trace huge amounts of money allegedly stashed away in foreign accounts by family members and aides of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. Sri Lankan investigators who began an investigation into financial deals sealed by the Rajapaksa govt had traced $2 billion in Dubai banks, an official source from Colombo said. more..

Owners to get Trincomalee land

Mar 21 (DN) A programme to provide land to owners in Trincomalee district who lost them during the conflict is underway. At a meeting chaired by Minister D.M. Swaminathan , it was revealed that 1,052 acres was released to be used as the High Security Zone in Sampur, Trincomalee for nine years. A decision has been taken to release 818 acres assigned for a BoI project, to the people immediately. The other 234 acres of land utilised by the Navy to set up camps will be released more..

Kabir Hashim promotes Sri Lanka at SL-Italy Business Council meeting

Mar 21 (GDI) The main challenge that Sri Lanka should address on the investment front, was to ensure that there is consistency of policy so that the rules, rights and obligations of investors are very clear from the onset, Minister Kabir Hashim said. This would lead to greater competitiveness and better performance in the Doing Business index, he added. At a recent breakfast meeting of the Sri Lankan Business Council of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Minister Kabir Hashim, more..

Conduct post-mortem on Jan. 8 drubbing before next poll: Colombo Mayor tells SLFP

Mar 21 (Island) Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil urged the SLFP to conduct a proper post-mortem on President Rajapaksa’s defeat at the Jan. 8 presidential election. The SLFP couldn’t ignore the need to examine circumstances that led to Rajapaksa’s defeat as it was preparing to face the next parliamentary election under President Maithripala Sirisena’s leadership. more..

Poisoning of school water supply: Parents demand immediate action

Mar 21 (Island) Chunnakam Police have so far not been able to make any arrest over the poisoning of the water supply of the Chunnakam Sri Murugan school in Jaffna on Thursday. The investigations were being carried out and several statements had been recorded. The parents of the school yesterday protested asking the police to arrest the suspects immediately. Out of 28 students who fell ill after drinking water from a tank within the school premises, 20 of them had been discharged more..

Their children are in limbo when doctors are transferred

Mar 21 (ST) GMOA alleges the State has failed to resolve the admission of their children to State-run schools during their transfers. GMOA said, when Medical officers are transferred, their children are victimised as they are deprived of admission to State-run schools, even though schools allocate places for children of govt. servants when transferred. GMOA spokesman said there is a special transfer scheme where doctors have to be transferred every four years. more..

Questions loom large over unbuilt Helmut Kohl maternity hospital

Mar 21 (ST) Ten years have passed since a foundation stone was laid to build the Helmut Kohl maternity hospital in Galle, but since then the site has turned into a breeding ground for mosquitoes, a group of concerned environmentalists complained. Karapitiya Environment and Community Development Society charged that although Rs. 680 million was donated towards this project, today all that was to be seen on the 5-acre site at more..