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'Some researchers payrolled by agro chemical companies'

Mar 21 (Island) Rajarata University Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Research Team Head Dr. Channa Jayasumana represented Sri Lanka at the World Nephrology Congress held in Cape Town, South Africa last week. Dr. Jayasumana said that on behalf of Sri Lanka he had participated in the World Nephrology Congress which was attended by a large number of research scientists on CKD. Some researchers from the Central American countries had been hired by powerful agrochemical more..

Group attempts forcibly fence a govt property opposite WTC

Mar 21 (AD) A group of people claiming to be from private company had attempted to forcible fence a govt property in front of the World Trade Center (WTC) in Colombo this morning. The group building the fence claims that the property is owned by the private company, however the UDA says the property, located near the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct, belongs to the UDA. Company in question has now temporarily halted the setting up of the fence, UDA Chairman Ranjith Fernando said. more..

Fate of nearly 12,000 LTTE cadres still a mystery

Mar 21 (CT) Minister D.M Swaminathan said there were now only 49 LTTE cadres undergoing rehabilitation in camps. He said, these LTTE cadres could engage in some vocational training or begin a new livelihood programme after they complete their rehabilitation, adding that the government was willing to do whatever was essential to ensure that they had effective rehabilitation. Asked for comments on the 12,000 LTTE cadres who more..

Toilet building target for neglected schools fall by way side

Mar 21 (Island) A project launched in 2013 to provide 1,000 schools with toilet facilities had not yielded the results, says an environmental scientist. More than 80 percent of those schools are still without toilets, he claims. Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) Executive Director Hemantha Withanage said that the former government’s pledge to provide the basic facility to the vulnerable communities on estates and slums by 2015 had not been honoured. more..

BBS says Karannagoda, Goonetileke should also be promoted

Mar 21 (AM) BBS General Secretary Galagodaatte Gnanasara Thera stated that if General Sarath Fonseka is to be promoted Field Marshal, similar promotion should be granted to Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda and Air Chief Marshal Roshan Goonatileke. Speaking at a media briefing on Friday, Gnanasara Thera stressed that General Sarath Fonseka did not lead the war on his own. The Army was ably supported by the Sri Lanka Navy and Sri Lanka Air Force, Gnanasara Thera added. more..

Beer penalty for top rugby club

Mar 21 (DM) The Colombo Excise Department City Office conducted a major detection at one of the leading rugby and football clubs in Colombo and seized a large stock of illicit beer worth more than Rs.90 million yesterday. Excise sleuths operating on a special directive of the Excise Commissioner General to check all licensed liquor sellers conducted a random search on this well-known club on Wednesday. more..

'Extremism suited for BBS, not SLFP'

Mar 21 (AM) SLFP Spokesperson Dilan Perera said in parliament on Friday that those who voice extremist views are better suited for organizations such as the BBS and not SLFP. He made this observation during a debate on allowing the singing of the Tamil version of the National Anthem. Perera observed that SLFP recognize the right of the Tamil people to sing the national anthem in Tamil. He added that those promote extremist views on the matter calling themselves members of SLFP more..

President comments on conspiracies within SLFP

Mar 21 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday commented on "conspiracies" within the SLFP drawing parallels with the assassination of the party's founding leader S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike. "The late S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike suffered immensely when he had power. I have never seen any other leader like Bandaranaike who underwent immense trauma while serving as the Prime Minister. The conspiracy to assassinate him did not come from outside; it came from within," more..

'Dalai Lama should be allowed to visit Sri Lanka as buddhist pilgrim'

Mar 21 (ENS) Former Sri Lankan Consul General in Sydney, Bandula Jayasekara, has suggested that the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, be allowed to visit Sri Lanka purely as a Buddhist pilgrim and on the strict condition that he talks no politics while being here. The former diplomat was commenting on the controversy kicked up by an invitation to the Dalai Lama to visit Lanka. Many Lankan officials feel it will annoy China more..

Of Amendments and Anthems

Mar 22 (SO) Nearly half a millennium of systematic Western colonial domination and exploitation has such a devastating impact on a small, island society that it certainly takes more than a half century for that society to recover. Even the transition from British colonial rule to a free Sri Lankan polity in 1948, while providing for a functioning modern state, could not ensure the forming of the island's society into a wholly integrated, consensual and culturally inclusive nation. more..

Undermining official languages policy

Mar 22 (SL) The 2015 Presidential election concluded with an unprecedented majority of Tamil and Muslim voters casting their vote against the former President Rajapaksa and choosing Maithripala Sirisena. One of the main themes around that election was the establishment of national unity and religious harmony. Maithripala Sirisena voiced that whilst there had been development in infrastructure facilities in the North, nothing tangible has happened to heal the more..

Buddhadasa on Weerawansa: He’s a callous politician

Mar 22 (SO) Protracted political conflict between Kaduwela Municipal Mayor, G.H. Buddhadasa, and NNFF Leader and Former Minister, Wimal Weerawansa, which has been simmering for several years has now reached explosive proportions, with both of them now entering a new round of verbal warfare. The conflict has its genesis in the 2011 LG Elections, where Weerawansa fielded a mayoral candidate of his choice more..

Constitutional conspiracies & the 19th Amendment

Mar 22 (Island) The proposed 19th Amendment to the constitution is a far cry from what the public was made to expect in terms of constitutional reform before the presidential election. Before the election, what we saw was an opposition platform that fulminated against the executive presidential system and promised its abolition. At his first appearance at Sirikotha, the common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena in order to highlight how he will dismantle the presidential system more..

Corruption: Coconut is on the lap, crack it

Mar 22 (ST) Much is being said about the delays in bringing to book those who had put their hands in the nation’s till during the last administration and made a fortune for themselves through devious and ill-gotten means. So brazen are some of them, that they have already started demonstrating against new Govt’s indiscretions — such as the case in front of Central Bank this week. It is no mean task to rope in these white-collar rogues, given the fact that there is no permanent anti-graft machinery in place more..

'Ranil not an inclusive person'

Mar 22 (SL) Former Minister Rajiva Wijesinha who crossed over to opposition following a rift with govt, accused PM Ranil Wickremesinghe of failing to take an inclusive approach. He says UNP must rethink its current position, and as happens in other countries where the PM cannot perform, think of a change. Wijesinha believes that the new govt’s failure to think carefully about how Cabinet was set up is a mark of inefficiency. more..

Making good governance work

Mar 22 (CT) Minister John Amaratunga, speaking in Parliament on Friday alleged that an MP who was present in Parliament had borrowed money amounting to Rs 1-1.5 million from one of Sri Lanka's international drug peddlers, Wele Suda. Wele Suda is currently in custody. It is understood a member of the public borrowing money from a criminal, but if a lawmaker is alleged to have indulged in borrowing from a criminal, where then is the law? Ostensibly, the MP who allegedly more..

Don’t play games after retirement

Mar 22 (ST) My dear Mahela, Kumar, Angelo and the SL cricket team, I thought I must write to you now because this is a time that many people will be blaming you and criticising you after you were knocked out of the World Cup by the South Africans. They will say that it was the manner in which we lost that game that was disappointing, rather than losing itself. When most of you returned to the country, there were no ministers at the airport to greet you and pose with you for television cameras. more..

'SL should foster cordial relations with China'

Mar 22 (SL) Dr Palitha Kohona, the Former Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in New York, who was also once the Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, believes that Sri Lanka should continue to foster cordial relations with China. He says that China has been a persistently reliable ally of Sri Lanka in international fora. It is to SL’s advantage to build on existing strong relationship. more..

Perverting the Yahapalana mandate

Mar 22 (Island) With each passing week, the stresses and strains within the yahapalana coalition that formed the present govt are coming more and more out into the open. Last week, at a seminar at the OPA auditorium,  Dr Jayampathy Wickremeratne who is an advisor to President Sirisena alleged that some people in the govt were trying to destroy the president’s credibility by blocking the abolition of the executive presidency. Dr Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri, the spokesman of more..

Maithri consolidates moderate image

Mar 22 (Island) President Sirisena, in his first interaction last week with newspaper editors and publishers and heads of electronic media, came across strongly as a moderate intent on steering this country to an era of non-contentious politics and power sharing. He is an effective communicator with his four decades of politics giving him the skill and experience to clearly say what he wants and do so sans flourishes and rhetoric. His Independence Day address, without script, more..

Ambushed Lankans limp back home

Mar 22 (ST) Lankan cricketers who were ambushed in Sydney on an unexpected seaming wicket began to leave Australia from the very next day, but, in staggered lots. Some of them were due back in the island on March 20 while the last to return to the island would be Mahela Jayawardena who almost has severed connections with the Lankan cricket authorities – coming back on March 27. However a bombshell is awaiting the Lankan tour camp more..

The lion’s fairy tale

Mar 22 (Island) Before the ball has crossed the boundary, two stumps are already plucked from the ground. Arjuna Ranatunga is looting souvenirs, no giant grin, just a smirk, then regular business. Muttiah Muralitharan is beaming as he rushes onto the field. Asanka Gurusinha is closing in like a one-man buffalo stampede. Ranatunga shoves his bat under his armpit and goes first to Mark Taylor, extending a gloved hand and polite thanks, accepting Taylor’s congratulations. more..

Between the Devil and Deep Blue Sea

Mar 22 (SL) As reported by veteran International journalist Taylor Dibbert in Huffington Post in Feb, Mahinda Rajapaksa is a savvy, charismatic political operator and the Rajapaksa brand isn’t toxic. Quote; “He lost a close election and his name will always be linked to the defeat of the Tamil Tigers. Political space for Rajapaksa to return to power cannot be ruled out.” For the past decade, former President Rajapaksa and his family dominated Sri Lanka’s political scene. more..

Govt to revive CEPA amidst Indian pressure

Mar 22 (ST) SL Govt, throwing caution to the winds amidst expected local industry protests, is bringing back the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) to the negotiating table following Indian PM Modi’s gentle persuasion. A high powered bilateral committee will be set up to prepare a new draft framework for the fresh negotiations between the two countries with cabinet approval to be sought for this purpose. more..

Rainbow govt avoids answering questions

Mar 22 (CT) The growing habit of the rainbow govt to avoid answering questions raised by the Opposition, including those raised under Standing Order 23-2 was questioned by many opposition legislators, several times during Parliamentary sessions last week. JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake and Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva brought to the notice of Speake that the govt is blissfully neglecting in answering their questions of national importance, as more..

Circular after circular on 15% issue to senior citizens

Mar 22 (ST) Commercial banks have been instructed to accept deposits of up to Rs.1 million at 15% interest from senior citizens over 60 years with no other limitations on periods, the Sri Lanka Banks Association said in a public notice this week. The latest information provides more clarity on the confusion over the 15% interest rate which worried many senior citizens. However many 60 year-olds with more than Rs.1 million in fixed deposits still maintain the Govt cheated them by more..

Ranatunga says likely to return as Cricket Board Chairman

Mar 22 (ST) Sri Lanka Cricket may get a boost with veteran cricketer and Minister Arjuna Ranatunga set to announce in two weeks about taking up chairmanship at the board. The minister addressing the media on Wednesday said, “If I have time I will definitely come back as Sri Lanka Cricket Chairman,” adding that his decision would be made in two weeks time. His comments came on Wednesday just before SL were eased out of more..

Pakistani sex worker ring exposed

Mar 22 (SL) The special investigation unit of the Department of Immigration and Emigration says an extensive investigation had been launched into a racket where young Pakistani girls are forced to work as sex workers in Sri Lanka. It has been revealed that Pakistani girls aged between 16 and 15 have been sent to Sri Lanka to work as sex workers. Last week a group of investigators arrested five Pakistani girls in the age group between 16 and 25 during a raid in Colombo. more..

Aloysius family exits JV with Browns

Mar 22 (ST) Four days after the controversial Treasury bond issue on Febr 27, the Aloysius family exited from its joint venture with the Browns Group. On March 3, the Aloysius family company Perpetual Holdings (part of Perpetual Capital) sold its 50% stake in FLC Joint Venture Company (Pvt) Ltd to Brown Investments, bringing Browns’ total ownership to 100 per cent. FLC Joint Venture Company was a joint venture between Browns Investment and Perpetual Holdings. more..

SEC halts UDA debenture, calls for audited accounts

Mar 22 (ST) SEC has halted the Urban Development Authority's (UDA) Rs. 10 billion debenture issue and called for its audited accounts of 2012 and 2013. The state entity was gearing to launch the bond for low-cost housing before last year end, but owing to the political changes it was put off. “When they had made a fresh application, we saw that they hadn’t audited their accounts for the past two years. more..

Hokandara - a new haven for drug peddlers

Mar 22 (Island) A fair number of middle and upper middle class families who opted to move into the quiet, eco- friendly and nature surrounded areas of Hokandara South are currently faced with a nightmarish situation where a neighboring plot of land belonging to Lake House has been converted by a gang of drug peddlers who freely use the property terrorizing residents. These lands were purchased by residents from The Finance Company in 2003 by breadwinners who are in their late more..

Hospital admissions due to poisonous sea creatures rising

Mar 22 (SO) A surge in the number of patients admitted to hospitals from poisonous sea creatures has caused alarm among health officials. "Some are already known to us. But many remain elusive. We need to urgently identify them as they collectively pose a danger to public health and life," Dr Waruna Gunathileke of National Hospital Sri Lanka, said. He said to contain this emerging threat, his Unit had launched an in-depth study on poisonous marine life in Sri Lanka, for the first time. more..

Inside story: How Maithripala Sirisena spent election night on a Dodangaslanda estate

Mar 22 (Island) With President Maithripala Sirisena’s revelation to Sandeshaya, that there were plans to destroy his whole family if he lost the presidential poll, political sources recalled how the then common candidate was escorted under cover of darkness to an estate owned by a close friend in the Kurunegala district. Just days after the Jan 8 presidential election, The Sunday Island learnt how the drama unfolded at Dodangaslanda, more..

19 from SL to attend 2-day talks on fishermen

Mar 22 (ENS) A 19-member Sri Lankan team, comprising 10 fishermen’s leaders and nine officials, will be participating in talks between the fishermen’s associations of Sri Lanka and India to be held in Chennai on March 24 and 25. This will the third time fishermen’s associations of the two countries will be meeting to thrash out the issue of fishing in the Palk Straits and Palk Bay. The first meeting was held in Chennai on Jan 27, 2014, and the second in Colombo on May 12, 2014. more..

If you are going to India, wear a mask

Mar 22 (ST) Health authorities have instructed tour operators organising pilgrimages to India to advise their elderly clients to take necessary precautions against the A(H1N1) epidemic — also called Indian swine flu – which has killed about 2,000 people while about 31,000 have fallen victim. Health Ministry has warned especially the elderly, mothers-to-be and those with chronic illnesses to take precautions if they are going to India. They have been advised to use surgical masks more..

Lanka’s Moscow envoy accused of selling arms to Ukraine rebels

Mar 22 (ST) Udayanga Weeratunga, SL’s former Ambassador to Russia, has been accused by Ukraine of involvement in arms sales to separatist rebels fighting troops in that country. Govt of President Petro Poroshenko has made a complaint to the Foreign Ministry in Colombo in this regard providing details of Mr. Weeratunga’s involvement, Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. “We will conduct a full investigation into this matter,” more..

PM as Leader of govt 19A draft in Parliament on 24 March

Mar 22 (CT) The Draft 19th Amendment to the Constitution bearing an amendment, defining the Prime Minister as the leader of the government, will be tabled in Parliament on 24 March, government sources told Ceylon Today. The Gazette Notification printed on 15 March dated, 13 March specifies that the clause in the Constitution defining the President as being the leader of the government has been removed from the Constitution in the amending Draft Bill. more..

Death of former Polls chief

Mar 22 (SO) Chandrananda de Silva, most famous as a long-time Commissioner of Elections during many controversial polls, passed away yesterday at his resident at Rajagiriya. He was 78 years of age. After retiring from a lengthy career in elections administrator, De Silva later served briefly as Secretary Defence and as an Advisor to President Chandrika Kumaratunga. A former student of Rahula College, Matara de Silva was appointed an Assistant Elections Commissioner in 1960 and more..

Sequence of events: Suspicions all round

Mar 22 (ST) Monetary Board of the Central Bank (CB) met Monday, Feb 23 and on the following day issued its monthly monetary policy stating that the interest rates were unchanged. Thereafter between Feb 24 and 26, an interested party sold treasury bonds (that it held) with the date of payment settlement being a week from then, compared to the norm of a two-day settlement from purchase period. On the morning of Friday, more..

President, PM, CBK in Jaffna tomorrow

Mar 22 (SO) President Mathripala Sirisena, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and former President Chandrika Kumaratunga are scheduled to fly to Jaffna tomorrow morning on an important symbolic visit to the North, to distribute title deeds of lands in the former High Security Zones being returned to families displaced by the war. Minister D.M.Swaminathan, who will accompany the national leaders on their brief visit to Jaffna, said that the ceremonial distribution of the title deeds more..