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Major political shock after Vesak

Mar 29 (CT) Parliament will not be dissolved at midnight of April 23 as pledged in govt's 100-day Programme and the public instead is very likely to be dealt a huge political shock immediately after Vesak that falls in the first week of May, reliable political sources said. Asked to explain the type of political shock in the offing after Vesak the source said 'It is too early to disclose it, all I can say right now is that the President and PM more..

Chinese companies to be paid

Mar 29 (SL) The Highways Ministry has decided to recommence all the main and provincial road development projects which had been suspended by the relevant Chinese companies due to the non-payment of dues. Highways, Higher Education and Investment Promotion Ministry Secretary Udaya Ranjith Seneviratne said that the ministry had paid Rs. 1,000 million on March 26 to the relevant Chinese contractors. It is reported that these Chinese companies had earlier decided to more..

MiG fighter deal: Ex SLAF Cdr grilled on purchase decision

Mar 29 (SO) Financial Fraud Investigation Division (FFID) is probing the extent of the loss suffered by the purchase of four MiG 27 Flogger D fighter-bomber aircraft in 2006, a deal struck without a performance bond and the vital End User Certificate. Top police sources said, the FFID questioned Air Marshal Roshan Gunathilake on Friday for hours to ascertain the extent of financial loss to the country due to purchasing four MiGs, at a staggering US$ 14,676,000 for the four units. more..

Dissolution likely after Vesak, General Elections in late June

Mar 29 (ST) The Lodge, once known as Queen’s Cottage, in Nuwara Eliya, often referred to as Little England was once home for British Governors and the ruling elite. Since independence in 1948, it became the holiday resort of the Governor General, later PMs and now Presidents. Unknown to most Sri Lankans, this turned out to be a centre in the tea country highlands for the campaign to re-elect Mahinda Rajapaksa at more..

Public interest to the fore

Mar 29 (Island) The good news yesterday was that three good governance activists, all of them experienced and respected members of society with many educational and career attainments to their credit, have invoked the fundamental rights jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to have the controversial Central Bank bond issue which has been very much in the news recently examined by a competent panel of experts. Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran is on leave until more..

Lee Kuan said he learnt from SL’s blunders

Mar 29 (Island) Writing about Lee Kuan Yew, at least for this writer, is not like writing about Nelson Mandela or Aung San Suu Kyi. People like Mandela and Suu Kyi were and are beacons of freedom, agents of transition and transformation in politics and in society. They liberate people, or at least give them a sense of liberation, from pre-existing, or inherited, bondage. But their record in providing efficient govt, and in creating and bequeathing national economic success, more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Mar 29 (ST) Two different Magistrates’ Courts have frozen funds belonging to Sirilak Saviya Foundation and Pushpa Rajapaksa Foundation. Sirilak Saviya Foundation is headed by Shiranthi Rajapaksa, wife of former president Rajapaksa. Pushpa Rajapaksa Foundation is headed by Pushpa, wife of former Minister Basil Rajapaksa. Newly set up FCID is to record statements from both Shiranthi and Pushpa. more..

Video: Protest over full-face helmet ban

Mar 29 (DM) A demonstration was staged in Colombo today against the proposed full-face helmet ban and a petition was also handed over to the PM’s office. Nearly 1000 people, most of them on motorbikes and wearing full-face helmets, took part in the demonstration saying full-face helmets are required for the safety of the riders. The ban on full-face helmets, which was earlier introduced but was then withdrawn, more..

Missing…. or are they?

Mar 29 (SL) Families of the Disappeared (FoD) had several meetings last week with some key members of the govt claiming that they have proof to say some of those reported missing are still alive. Activist Brito Fernando said that FoD is in fact not challenging the govt but presenting the facts and is requesting the govt to take appropriate measures to find those reported missing. more..

Govt follows Rajapaksa policies in controlling private banks

Mar 29 (ST) Sweeping changes are set to take place on the boards of six Sri Lankan private commercial banks in which the Govt has a stake, triggering concern across the banking sector. Govt nominees have been named as directors, eventually to take over as chairpersons, at Hatton National Bank (HNB), Commercial Bank, National Development Bank (NDB), Sampath Bank, DFCC and Seylan Bank, Sunday Times learns. more..

‘Police have acted impartially, Court will decide’

Mar 29 (Island) As a sequel to the flare-up, where Dr. Maheshi Wijeratne was accused of attacking a woman with a wine glass in a five-star hotel, police are investigating a subsequent counter-complaint by Sri J'pura hospital consultant neurosurgeon that the victim and two other persons had allegedly harassed her mother during the incident. Menaka Galgamuwa & Damith Vitharana, who had accompanied Rhonda de Ley, more..

Significant changes in 19A; any MP can act for President

Mar 29 (ST) A new draft of the 19th Amendment presented to party leaders this week provides for an ordinary MP to act for the President in the event of a vacancy if, for some reason, it cannot be filled by the Speaker. Amendment also takes away the designation of Head of Govt from the President, leaving him/her with the positions of Head of the State, Head of the Executive and Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces. more..

Protests over a private party making a kill at the expense of CMC

Mar 29 (Island) The continued outsourcing of crucial tests on food and water standards in the city to a private sector facility by the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) has caused widespread concern, with allegations that the transfer of responsibility has afforded an opportunity to a close relative of a senior politician to make millions of rupees. Permitting a privately-owned laboratory to handle this critical task defies belief as more..

JVP offers conditional support for electoral reforms

Mar 29 (AM) JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake on Saturday said that the forthcoming general election expected within this year should be the last election under the proportional voting system. He stated that forthcoming general election should not be held under the proposed electoral system. “In the first place 19th constitutional amendments should be passed in the parliament. After that we can change electoral system. more..

President Sirisena buys time, China willing to be patient

Mar 29 (Island) Following President Maithripala Sirisena’s assurance in Beijing last week that the dispute over continuation of the Chinese funded Colombo Port City Project (CPCP) was a temporary situation, China has indicated a willingness to be patient until Sri Lanka’s review of the project agreement is completed. Sirisena, by absolving China of any blame for the  suspension of US$ 1.5 billion project agreement between more..

Colour code for sugar content in drinks

Mar 29 (ST) In an apparent bid to curb the growing number of diabetes cases, consumers will soon have a guideline to select the soft drinks, energy and other drinks based on the sugar content in them. The containers will have a marking with a colour code – green, amber and red enabling the consumers to decide before they buy them. Bottles with the green coding will have a sugar content of less than two grams for 100 ml. more..

On the bond fracas and on 19A

Mar 29 (Island) Understandably the public is ultra sensitive, having survived a corrupt morally decadent regime, to any and every shortcoming of the new one. Fair enough and I encourage vigilance after a long period in which Rajapaksa putrefaction fed on the cowardice of the populace. That’s the truth. Edward Saeed remarked that the intellectual must Speak truth to power but he forgot to add the same injunction about speaking truth to the people. I devote this piece to two hot issues. more..

The proposed 19th amendment: A critique

Mar 29 (Island) The Bill for the 19th Amendment to the Constitution has been drafted, published in the Gazette and placed on the Order Paper of Parliament without any opportunity for public consultation. Once more, a govt has arrogated to itself the sole power to draft a constitution, ignoring the fact that the constitution belongs to the whole country and all its inhabitants. It is a social contract between the citizens and the state, whereby the people agree to submit more..

Colombo port city: To be or not to be

Mar 29 (CT) President Sirisena during his official visit to China had apparently given an assurance to resume Colombo Port City Project which came to a halt almost month ago drawing tension between the two countries. With Chinese investors voicing their displeasure and worry in investing in Sri Lanka in future, the matter was growing into a more political context than a problem of merely a one project it posed a serious more..

Pakistan expresses grief over death of President’s brother

Mar 29 (AD) The Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan at Colombo, Dr. Sarfraz Sipra has expressed his deep shock, heartfelt condolences and sympathies on behalf of the people and the Govt of Pakistan on tragic demise of Priyantha Sirisena, the youngest brother of President Maithripala Sirisena. “Talking on telephone to the family members of the deceased this morning, Dr. Sipra conveyed heartfelt condolences and deep shock and grief on the very tragic loss of more..

Senior medical administrators want Health Secretary replaced

Mar 29 (Island) A section of senior medical administrators have sought a meeting with the President and PM to discuss the possibility of replacing the incumbent Health Secretary, an SLAS officer, with a medical administrator. Health Ministry sources said that one of the key reasons behind the move to call for him to be replaced is the lack of support shown by him towards monitoring and supervising transfers approved by the Transfer Board & Public Service Commission (PSC). more..

Interview with the Elections Commissioner

Mar 29 (Island) I had tried several times to meet him. He too, in all fairness, made a valiant effort to make time for me. It had been almost a month since we set out to meet. Finally the day had come. I arrived 15 minutes early at his office on a public holiday. Shown into his room, my attention was drawn to the huge map mounted on a wall below the pictures of his predecessors. Seated at his desk, the man most called Maco – short for more..

Mahinda sees threats to his life

Mar 29 (CG) Former President Rajapaksa has expressed fears for his life and has said the Govt will need to be responsible if something happens to him. Rohan Welivita, Media Coordinator of the former President said that even though the govt provides security for the former President when he engages in social activities, the security is not enough. At present six security vehicles have been provided to the former President for his security convoy, but the media coordinator says more..

Flu no cause for panic: Chief epidemiologist

Mar 29 (Island) "There is no need to panic unnecessarily over influenza as influenza transmitted by birds and animals is not recorded here," asserts Chief Epidemiologist, Dr. Paba Palihawadana, saying regular testing had been carried out since 2006 on both human and animal samples but none had been positive. While human samples had been tested at the Medical Research Institute (MRI), animals and bird samples had been tested at Veterinary Research Institute (VRI) more..

Mihin Lanka flight returns

Mar 29 (DM) A Mihin Lanka flight landed safely at BIA upon being forced to return when pilots detected a technical problem en route to Dhaka, Bangladesh today. The Mihin Lanka flight MRL501 along with 159 passengers and 7 flight crew had departed BIA at 9.30 am though it was scheduled to take off at 7.25 am. After takeoff, the pilots had detected a defect in the technological system and decided to return to the BIA. more..

Brother says ex DIG Vaas arrested under false allegations

Mar 29 (Island) Former DIG Vass Gunawardena’s brother Kulendra De Vass Gunawardena, living in the UK, is requesting from the present govt to bring justice to his brother. Mr. K De Vass further stressed his brother, former DIG Vass Gunawardena, was arrested on the 8th of June 2013 with false allegations due to revealing corruption conducted by the previous govt. The former DIG was one of the key front line officers who worked hard to dismantle the terror group the LTTE. more..

Eight arrested for producing defamatory film on SL Army

Mar 29 (DM) Eight persons including a lawyer were taken into custody by the Borella police under suspicion of producing a defamatory documentary on Sri Lanka Army at a house in Narahenpita. Five individuals among the arrested are residents of Jaffna. Investigations have revealed that two of the suspects had migrated to India. After shooting the film in India the suspects had brought it to Sri Lanka for dubbing. Police said the documentary contained scenes portraying the Sri Lanka Army as more..

Majestic Australia win fifth World Cup

Mar 29 (CI) It had been the World Cup of short balls. On a flat MCG deck, it had seemed bounce would be the bowlers' major ally. But so cocksure were Australia's pace phalanx of their quality, they left nothing to the vagaries of the surface, firing balls full, fast and straight to deliver Australia a seven-wicket win and its fifth World Cup in comprehensive fashion. Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson shared five wickets, having more..

Karaliyedda on the fence

Mar 29 (DM) Newly appointed Deputy Minister of Buddha Sasana and Democratic Governance, Tissa Karaliyedda today said his assuming duties on his post is yet to be decided. Giving reasons for his sudden decision, he said his supporters had expressed their disappointment and opposition over his acceptance of the minister post offered by the new govt. “We never expected that we would be given minister posts in such ministries and subjects by the central committee of SLFP. more..

Kuwait Airways to fly daily from Colombo

Mar 29 (Island) Kuwait airways announced daily operations effective March 31, 2015 with the expansion of new destinations and daily connections to certain destination such as New York, London and the main European hubs Frankfurt, Paris, Rome and Geneva. Passengers travelling to Amman, Medina will have special benefits included as well.  The new destinations which would be added in July are Munich, Vienna  and Istanbul, the airline said in a statement. more..

UK girl finds her SL family after 18 years

Mar 29 (Mirror) Growing up, Poppy Royal’s life was happy and secure. Her parents Cliff, now 68, and Jenny, 58, had adopted her at five weeks old, and never kept a secret of where she actually came from – Sri Lanka. "Mum and Dad adopted me and another Sri Lankan child, Joshua," says Poppy. But growing up in a comfortable home in Oxfordshire was a world away from the life of her birth family, who toiled on tea plantations more..

Prasanna Ranatunga lashes out at those who betrayed SLFP

Mar 29 (AM) Western Province Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunga lashed out at SLFP members who had accepted ministerial portfolios in the govt, adding that they have betrayed the party. Ranatunga said that he entered the fight to make former president Mahinda Rajapaksa the SLFP Prime Ministerial candidate, prepared to give up his Chief Ministerial post if needed. In contrast, some SLFP leaders are betraying the party by accepting positions in the govt, he added. more..

Aquinas, Australia Catholic Uni. sign MoU for degree in teaching

Mar 29 (ST) Aquinas University College, a premier Catholic higher education institute in Sri Lanka, which had received Degree-awarding status from the UGC, had entered into a historic Academic Partnership with world renowned Australian Catholic University (ACU) in Feb 2014, now launches its first Degree programme- Bachelor of Arts in Teaching (BAT). Accordingly, Rector of Aquinas, Rev Fr (Dr) Placidus De Silva signed an MoU at a ceremony held in Sydney, Australia, more..

Free Wifi access from tomorrow

Mar 29 (DM) Lankan citizens will be able to enjoy free Wifi internet access at selected 26 public locations from tomorrow, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Telecommunications and IT said. Information Communication & Technology Agency said it would expand the services to 1000 public spaces across the island by the end of August. Foreign Affairs Media Secretary said they have not established any restrictions on free Wifi service. more..

Over 2,000 children in refugee camps

Mar 29 (SL) Ministry of Resettlement, Reconstruction and Hindu Religious Affairs says that about 22,000 children have been born to date to about 100,000 Sri Lankan refugee families in India who fled the country during the war. The very first member of these families who fled the country was reportedly dead and only their children live at Indian refugee camps. A high number of people living in the North and East are now living at refugee camps located in 26 districts in Chennai. more..

Water Hyacinth taking over Nuwara Wewa

Mar 29 (ST) Following the recent heavy rains in the Anuradhapura district, a carpet of Water Hyacinth (Japan Jabara) has spread to over 50 acres of the Nuwara Wewa. Residents say the fast-growing plant is likely to cover over half the tank by the end of the year unless urgent remedial measures are taken immediately. The plant was borne into the wewa/tank via waters from smaller tanks which spilled over during the rains last year and has taken only around four months to cover over more..

120 Lankans stranded in Yemen

Mar 29 (CT) Govt said it was keeping a close watch on the 120 Sri Lankans stranded in Yemen as the Saudi Arabia-led coalition intensified airstrikes on Shia Houthi rebels who are advancing on the capital Sana'a. Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera said the govt had contacted the UN and the Indian High Commission in Yemen asking they secure the safety of Sri Lankans because SL does not have a representative presence there. more..

President Sirisena requests Swedish assistance for irrigation development

Mar 29 (AM) President Maithripala Sirisena requested Swedish assistance to develop the irrigation sector when he met PM of Sweden Stefan Löfven during the bilateral discussions on Saturday on the sidelines of Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2015, in Boao, Hainan Province, China. PM Löfven congratulated President Sirisena on his presidential election victory and said that he and the Swedish govt are pleased to see the positive development in post-election Sri Lanka. more..

CAA seek public support to round up gang extorting money

Mar 29 (GDI) It has come to light that an organized gang was extorting money from traders claiming that they are sleuths of the Consumer Affairs Authority. It solicits public support to round up such persons. Complaints have been received that this organized gang is reported to be terrorizing traders and extorting money. Chairman of the Consumer Affairs Authority Rumy Marzook said that complaints had been made from Colombo, Gampaha, Ratnapura, Kurunegala and Matara. more..

Sirisena is a conspirer: Anura K

Mar 29 (CT) JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake charges President Maithripala Sirisena is a conspirer who is plotting to prevent the smooth passage of the 19th amendment despite the promises made. Speaking at an event organized by the People’s Movement for Democracy, Dissanayake recalls the main slogans that were deployed during the past elections that have resulted in major regime changes. more..