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New SLFP Ministers take oath

Mar 22 (AD) President Maithripala Sirisena today appointed eleven new Cabinet Ministers, five State Ministers and ten Deputy Ministers at a ceremony held at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo. Minster and Cabinet Spokesman Rajitha Senaratne this morning said that the Government has decided to form a coalition with the SLFP. “UNP-SLFP national govt. This will be a historic decision,” the Minister added. more..

Bora Diya Pokuna creates ripples

Mar 23 (CT) Satyajith Maitipe’s debut feature film, Bora Diya Pokuna (Scent of the Lotus Pond) which is currently showing at the Regal, Colombo and a few other movie theatres across the island is a cinematic gem that must not be missed, especially by those of you who have waited more than a decade to see it — though film production ended in 2003 the Public Performance Board of Sri Lanka refused to certify it without certain erotic scenes central to the film being excised. more..

Sirisena, Mahinda, or Puran Appu?

Mar 23 (CT) Who is worthy of admiration and accolades, soft-spoken Sirisena or iron-pumping Percy Mahinda? It seems like that most of us have a distorted notion of heroes; for example, recently, someone compared Palitha Kohona to Puran Appu. Is Palitha the latest incarnation of Puran Appu? If he is, from now on, he should be known as Palitha Puran Appu. The Puran Appus that I revere are buried, not basking in braggadocio of some bootlicking braggarts. more..

Danger of Constitutional deadlock

Mar 23 (SO) It was the late Professor A.J. Wilson, who advised President Jayewardene in the making of the Second Republican Constitution of 1978, who later described that constitution as the Gaullist experiment in Asia. He was alluding to the influence of the rationales and principles of the constitution of the 1958 French 5th Republic, where main architect was President de Gaulle, on design of SL constitution. more..

The Good and Bad of Rugby League 2014-15

Mar 23 (SL) The 2014-15 League is now in the hands of those who’ll record it for posterity. And what they’ll write of the four-month long competition, concluded last week, will be quite a different story to those written of previous seasons. It is difficult to remember any past league tournament producing a climax as theatrical as this one. A fortnight before the end, three teams were in the race for the title; in the final week, the race was between two – and in the end, three teams were in the race more..

Ranil kicks into his own goal

Mar 23 (SL) The media in Sri Lanka has been a dual purpose object of veneration and abuse in the past many years and continues to be so. When times are difficult and if these times are gone through with the assistance of the media, it is considered even sacrosanct and paeans of praise showered on it. But if the media crosses the path of those who seek its succour – despite former contributions – it is kicked lustily on its bottom and roundly abused. This love/hate relationship usually exists more..

What is the Framework Agreement

Mar 23 (Island) The South Asia Regional Workshop on Framework Agreements: Understanding and Implementation was held last week in at Taj Samudra Hotel, Colombo. I met Haider Raza during the two day workshop. Raza who functions as the Senior Procurement Specialist and Public Integrity and Openness official for the World Bank explained intricacies of the Framework Agreement (FA). Q: Could you tell me what the FA is? more..

The tale of two Yahapalanaya speeches

Mar 23 (ST) Democracy is messy. Fundamentally, the business of democratic govt involves criticism of politicians, rightly stinging sometimes and less deservedly so on other occasions. The shoulders of government are broad enough to take even unjustified public rebuke, far more than when the rights of a private citizen are infringed. This is the rationale on which the law operates when balancing the right to freedom of speech with competing rights. Undeniably moreover, the manner in which more..

The way the presidency crumbles

Mar 23 (ST) Maithripala Sirisena rode to the presidency on the silver swan of a sacred promise: to set in motion a revolution that would result in a real change for Lanka within 100 days of taking office. Well brace yourself. The revolution is round the corner and will be upon us soon. If all goes to plan the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which was gazetted last week, will be presented in Parliament in April and, as President Sirisena announced on Wednesday, more..

'Losers want Mahinda to return'

Mar 23 (CT) Popular singer Sunil Perera says he was ordered not to sing songs criticizing the govt. Q: There is a view that without Mahinda Rajapaksa the country is in danger of fragmenting. What is your opinion? A: I think those are arguments of the defeated, corrupt elements that have no future. Q: What was the status of the country with Mahinda as President? A: President Maithripala Sirisena said that, had he lost the election, more..

Editorial: Politicians will be politicians

Mar 23 (Island) Pro-democracy activists who pinned their hopes on the opposition alliance which ousted President Rajapaksa are becoming increasingly disillusioned and disappointed. For, it is not going at full tilt to make good its pre-election promises, especially the one to bring about political reforms. A veteran political analyst, in an article we published on Saturday, lamented the signs of the rainbow coalition disintegrating within three months of its meteoric rise to power. more..

Info-V 2015, ICT expo unveils

Mar 23 (CT) The Organizing Committee of Info-V in collaboration with Visakha Vidyalaya, and with the support of the Ministry of Education, presents the second annual Info-V 2015 ICT exhibition on 3, 4 and 5 July at the Sri Lanka Exhibition and Convention Centre (SLECC) in Colombo. Themed 'Smart Destinations – a Knowledge Hub that brings to you the latest in technological advancements and innovations,' the expo has Sri Lanka Telecom coming on board as Platinum Sponsor more..

'Navin has messed up and it disappoints me'

Mar 23 (CT) Problems surrounding the new Sports Minister, Navin Dissanayake increase day by day. Attorney General's interpretation of amendment to the Sports Law had concerns for many interested parties and the ongoing debate suggests it will lead sports to its downfall. To top that Doctors of Sports Medicine unit started a strike against a political appointment to the post of their Director General while more..

Sports Ministry keeps SLRFU waiting

Mar 23 (ST) The Annual General Meeting of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union which was to be held on March 7 was postponed. I asked the Secretary of the Union, Nalin de Silva about the current status as the Annual General Meeting is normally held before the end of March. The Secretary explained that the Union has sought approval of the Ministry for the Nominations received for Office Bearers and is awaiting a response to fix a date for the meeting. There have been reports and stories that more..

The way the script went radically wrong

Mar 23 (ST) I strongly believe that the script in the last episode of the Sanga-Mahela saga was flawed. The ending was a huge anti-climax and ill fitting. It was as if suddenly in the middle of an idolised drama, the stage has collapsed beneath the actors’ feet and they play no more. It should not have been the final outing of those two great cricketing ambassadors – I mean how the script was written. An entire nation was watching the drama at the SCG during the first quarter-final more..

'Jaffna groundwater does not contain dangerous pollutants'

Mar 23 (DN) The report that regional groundwater in and around Chunnakam, Jaffna, does not consist dangerous pollutants, was a great relief to the public and is a major step in the positive direction, opined MTD Walkers PLC - the parent company of the Northern Power Plant of Chunnakam, which had been subject to baseless accusations and misinformation campaigns. "The announcement by the Expert Committee more..

Recreation Tourism becoming a new global trend

Mar 23 (Island) The latest trend globally is where affluent people indulge in an interest or passion which is an opportunity for countries to attract top dollar tourists provided the country has the unique terrain to meet the expectations of the visitors. The minister for Tourism and Sports Navin Dissanayake, deputy Minister of the Foreign Minister, Malaysian High Commissioner together with chairman Sri Lanka tourism flagged off 18 bikers from Galadari Hotel the host hotel, who flew specially from more..

National govt will give stability, attract FDI Relieve pressure on rupee

Mar 23 (CT) The formation of a national govt as reported in the lead story of this newspaper on its yesterday's edition will augur well for the economy, market sources said. A national govt will give the needed political stability to attract that much wanted foreign direct investments (FDI) in to the country, sources said. That will lend stability to the beleaguered rupee, currently buffeted by depreciating pressure due to a combination of import demand, foreigners exiting from more..

One out of every 5 households in Sri Lanka had a computer in 2014

Mar 23 (ST) At least one computer was available in 22% of households last year – meaning one out of every five households in Sri Lanka has a computer, a new island wide survey has revealed. This percentage is about 36% in the urban sector while the rural and estate sector show 20.4% and 4.6%, respectively. Highest availability is in the Western Province (33%) while the lowest availability is reported from the North Central. more..

Key suspect in Serene Pavillions’ abduction case arrested

Mar 23 (ST) The main suspect involved in the abduction of hotelier Anura Lokuhetty, former CEO of boutique hotel Serene Pavillions at Wadduwa 18 months ago, was arrested this week and remanded pending an identification parade. The suspect is said to be a security manager working for a firm of security guards hired by the current disputed management of the hotel. According to court officials, he was arrested on Monday and produced in court on Tuesday. more..

Enhancing the benefits from engagement with India

Mar 23 (Island) The Pathfinder Foundation (PF) since its inception in 2006 has been in the forefront in advocating closer and much more liberal trade and investment relations with an expanding Indian market. In this connection, the Foundation has commissioned several studies on opportunities arising from deepening of the existing FTA with India leading to a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). In order to realise the full benefits of the economic relations between more..

Owners of Mahanuwara are contemplating FR application

Mar 23 (FT) Owners of the vessel Mahanuwara, which is embroiled in the floating armoury controversy, are contemplating filing a Fundamental Rights application against the authorities. Sri Lanka Shipping says that they had brought to the attention of the Magistrate Courts, the Harbour Master and the CID that the vessel was 40 years old and the Certificate of Class expires on 31 March 2015 and on expiry of class the insurances for pollution, more..

Bangladesh High Commissioner meets President

Mar 23 (FT) Bangladesh High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Tarik Ahsan paid a courtesy call on the newly elected President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo today. During the meeting, Ahsan conveyed the greetings of Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina to President Sirisena and reiterated her invitation to him to visit Bangladesh at a mutually convenient time. The High Commissioner lauded the steps taken by the new Govt of Sri Lanka under more..

4 years on, Malathi has her eyes fixed on sea for hubby’s return

Mar 23 (TOI) It was only in 2013 that Malathi got a ray of hope that her husband will return. It has been four years since Murugan went missing and Malathi has recently learnt that her husband was alive in a prison in Yazhpanam, Sri Lanka. A mother of three, Malathi, 30, is hopeful despite the local police doing little to find the fisherman. A native of Poompuhar in Nagapattinam district, Malathi said, "He went fishing that day as usual. My third child had just turned one-year, while the other two are still toddlers." more..

National nutrition program for pregnant mothers launched

Mar 23 (GDI) President Sirisena Saturday launched a national nutrition program for pregnant mothers aimed at eradicating low-weight births. President launched the island wide program Uththama Pooja organized under the theme Eradicating low-weight births from Sri Lanka from Polonnaruwa. Addressing the event, President said govt would do everything possible to improve nutritional levels of children and mothers. more..

'Some former Ministers of yet hogging official bungalows'

Mar 23 (Island) Minister Kabir Hashim said that the govt would be compelled to take legal action against the previous govt’s ministers who would not leave the official residences. These former ministers should have vacated the official residences to make room for their successors, minister said. He stopped short of naming those who had not responded to a call for handing over the official residences. 20% of the ministers of the previous govt were still living in official bungalows they had been allocated by more..

D.S. Senanayake’s dream was to elevate Govi Janapada children: President

Mar 23 (DN) “Being a child who was brought up in a Govi Janapada initiated by former PM late D.S. Senanayake, I am extremely happy I could climb up the ladder to be the Head of State,” President Maithripala Sirisena said. He was participating in the 63th Commemoration Ceremony of D.S Senanayake at the Independence Square. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe was also present on the occasion. President said he was glad that he could realize the dream of late D. S Senanayake to elevate more..

Ban on five toxic chemicals effective from next week

Mar 23 (Island) JHU MP Ven. Athuraliye Rathana thera said that President Sirisena had appointed a committee headed by him to explore ways and means of preventing the Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and it had recommended banning five kinds of kidney toxic chemicals and the ban would be gazetted next week. Ven. Rathana said that the Committee for the Prevention of Kidney Disease had devised an effective plan to more..

Access Engineering sets record straight on $ 85 m BIA project

Mar 23 (FT) Access Engineering Plc (AEL) has issued a disclosure to the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) explaining its position in relation to the Government’s annulment of $ 85 million tender for a runway overlay and associated work at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA). AEL said that whilst respecting the decision taken by the Cabinet of Ministers, the disclosure was for the purpose of further clarity. The following is the statement of disclosure. more..

Two women in tussle over a cat

Mar 23 (Island) Two women of Gorakadeniya fighting over the ownership of a cat have turned to the Peradeniya police to resolve the matter, but the cops in turn has left the verdict in the hands of the Veterinary Faculty there. According to statements of the two women to the police one woman left the rented out house she was living in to a new residence leaving behind her pet cat in the house. Sometime later she came back to her previous residence to collect the pet. more..

'Arrest could hamper talks'

Mar 23 (ENS) Chief Minister O Panneerselvam urged PM Narendra Modi to impress upon Sri Lankan authorities to immediately release the 54 fishermen arrested for there to be meaningful and conducive talks between the fishermen of TN and SL scheduled to be held on 24 March 2015. “At a time when all the groundwork for the talks has been completed and there was eager anticipation amongst the fishermen community that more..

US$ 4.2 m to improve Mannar schools

Mar 23 (DN) The Japanese Govt has agreed to provide USD 4.2 million through the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) to improve the learning environments in Mannar District. The agreements were signed early this month. The project will commence on April 1 and continue for 30 months. The project will be implemented by UN-Habitat in partnership with community based organizations, parents and teachers associations, and govt officials in the Mannar district. more..

Pettah hawkers default payments to CMC

Mar 23 (CT) 824 pavement hawkers of the Pettah Self Employees' Federation have not paid rent for their stalls to the Colombo Municipal Council, for the last five years, amounting to Rs 100 million, Municipal Treasurer, K.D. Chitrapala said. Action has been taken to evict these defaulting traders today with the assistance of Police and CMC Security personnel. Also, action is to be filed in Court, and the 824 defaulters have been intimated verbally and in writing in this regard, more..

'It’s a great political betrayal'

Mar 23 (Island) NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa, alleged President Sirisena was bending backwards to facilitate PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s political agenda. He said President Sirisena in his capacity as the leader of SLFP had paved the way for a group of SLFPers to join Wickremesinghe’s govt early this week, most probably today. Weerawansa alleged that at least 15 SLFP member or more could join Wickremesinghe’s govt more..

Release Lasantha Killing tapes to CID

Mar 23 (CT) Mt. Lavinia Magistrate Mohomed Shahabdeen ordered several media institutions to hand over to the CID the unedited video recordings of a statement made by a former Cabinet Minister in connection with the killing of Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunge. The directive from Magistrate, came in response to a request made to court by the CID. When the Lasantha Wickremetunge murder case was called for hearing in the Mt. Lavinia Magistrate's court recently, more..

Cabinet Sub-committee to review Uma Oya multipurpose project

Mar 23 (GDI) President Maithripala Sirisena said Cabinet subcommittee will be appointed to review the plans of Uma Oya multi-purpose development project, which has extensively been discussed lately. The President, who is also the Minister of Mahaweli Development and Environment, has instructed the Secretary of the Ministry of Environment Conservation to immediately provide a report on the present progress of the project, financial situation and public views on the project. more..

Sri Lanka sets up national unity govt to speed up reforms

Mar 23 (FT) Marking a historic turn in the political history of Sri Lanka, the main Opposition SLFP yesterday joined the rainbow coalition Govt by accepting 11 cabinet ministerial portfolios, five state ministerial portfolios and 10 Deputy Ministerial positions. New Ministers were sworn last afternoon by President Sirisena in the presence of PM Wickremesinghe. New appointments bloat the base of ministerial types by 50% from 51 to 76 more..

Behold! A new Sri Lanka

Mar 23 (DM) If a momentous chapter in Sri Lanka’s history began on Jan 8 this year, then a golden page was written yesterday when the two main political parties decided to rise beyond self-centred party politics and form a National Govt for the first time since Independence 67 years ago. Much credit for this memorable achievement needs to go to the three leaders who are virtually running the country today—President Sirisena, PM Wickremesinghe and former President Kumaratunga. more..

63rd Death Anniversary of our first Head of State

Mar 23 (DM) Don Stephen Senanayake entered politics when he was elected to the Legislative Council at the age of 40. In an article to a national daily after the death of PM, the famous English author John Seymour [‘Hard way to India’ fame], wrote, “The PM very amusingly told me, how he had made a train trip to Batticaloa, many years ago as Minister of Agriculture (under the Donoughmore Constitution, in 1930’s) and how the train had stopped at a siding in jungles of Minneriya. more..

'UNP has a right to decide when to hold general elections'

Mar 23 (DM) In a candid interview, Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam responded to the accusations being levelled against the govt of adopting a lethargic attitude with concern to bringing those with corruption charges to book; explained the reasons behind the UNP’s haste to go for general elections and the steps taken to streamline the education sector. Q: What are the main issues in the education more..