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Police Counter Terrorism Unit warns of LTTE resurgence

Feb 12 (ST) Police Department’s counter terrorism arm, Terrorism Investigation Division (TID), believes there is a resurgence of the LTTE in the North, 6 years after they were militarily defeated. The seemingly alarming findings, hotly disputed by others familiar with the developments, are contained in a report sent to Police Chief Pujith Jayasundera by TID’s head, acting DIG Nalaka de Silva. Report, copy of which was seen by Sunday Times more..

SAITM without the Healing Touch

Feb 12 (Island) The SAITM is caught  in a legal and political battle that keeps getting hotter by the day. This looks like a Donald Trump case in reverse. Why do you say that? Trump has been turned down by the Court of Appeal, and says he will fight on in the Courts. So, what’s happening here? Minister Kiriella warns the SLMC to carry out the Appeal Court decision on SAITM. Looks like he has not heard of the Supreme Court. It looks more a battle on law than on medicine. more..

Constitutional Tensions and Mixed Messages

Feb 12 (Island) When it seemed that there was nothing left and it was all over insofar as the government’s commitment to constitutional changes was concerned, there were new developments last week that are pleasantly surprising and politically reassuring. The first sign of hope emanated from a meeting President Sirisena had last Wednesday (8) with representatives of about 50 civil society organizations at the Presidential Secretariat. The second sign of optimism came from more..

NWSD workers’ work to rule continues: Services not affected: NWSD

Feb 12 (DM) Some 1,000 employees of the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) have launched a work to rule campaign from yesterday against what they claim as a demotion of their services. Members of the Engineering Diploma Holder’s Association (EDHA) and Technical Officers’ Association (TOA) have refused to work overtime, night shifts and maintenance shifts during the weekend. “Employees will be on duty at more..

Vimukthi Jayasundara, the lone Sinhalese to have directed an Indian film

Feb 12 (ENS) Links between Indian and Sri Lankan cinemas have had a long history, going back to the late 1940s. But while many Indians have directed Sri Lankan movies, only three Sri Lankans have directed Indian films so far. The three Sri Lankans are: Batticaloa-born Balu Mahendra, maker of the prize winning Veedu, Sandhya Ragam and Thalaimuraigal; Punguduthivu-born V.C.Guhanathan, who turned out more..

Mahinda meets members of Maithri Camp as Govt plans a referendum

Feb 12 (CT) The majority of members of the two main parties of the Unity Govt, UNP and the SLFP seems to stand on the same ground when it comes to the continuity of the controversial SAITM, while others who stand poles apart politically and socially were seen coming under one umbrella and sitting on the same stage against the institution. Though it is questionable under what moral grounds they could stand together in more..

LTTE supporters demonstrate opposite Sri Lankan HC in London

Feb 12 (Island) A group of pro-LTTE activists living in London demonstrated opposite the Sri Lankan High Commission, while Independence Day celebrations were held last week. Although the demonstrators were assigned a designated area with barricades, they walked in front of the High Commission premises and shouted slogans such as Our leader Prabakaran, Our nation Tamil Eelam. more..

Controversial Israeli architect here next week

Feb 12 (ST) A world renowned Israeli architect, Moshe Safdie whose firm’s name has been linked to a secret plan that was part of the Israeli govt’s campaign for settler homes in private Palestinian lands, will be the chief guest at the annual sessions of the SL Institute of Architects next week. He is well known worldwide for his architectural expertise. Mr. Safdie is referred to as the Father of modern architecture. more..

Rajitha asks FCID to go for the big fish

Feb 12 (Island) The govt says that the FCID was established to investigate mega corruption during the Rajapaksa regime, but unfortunately that objective had not been achieved. Asked as to what had happened to the govts pledge to unearth billions of rupees in State funds that the Rajapaksa’s had allegedly siphoned off while in power, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said on Friday that the FCID had produced results, more..

Lankan minister’s prize-winning bull has air-conditioned caravan, filmy style

Feb 12 (ENS) Separate rooms, a swimming pool and air-conditioned caravan for hassle-free transport. No, it is not for human beings, it is all for SL Minister Senthil Thondaman’s jallikattu bulls that struck gold at the famed Alanganallur event. We treat the bulls like our family members. They have separate rooms and a swimming pool for the bulls. As swimming is the best exercise to make them strong, tank was converted into an exclusive more..

Crisis brewing over UDA getting powers of PCs

Feb 12 (ST) A constitutional crisis is in the making over the Govt’s move to vest with the UDA some key functions exercised by provincial and local councils. Western Province Chief Minister Isuru Devapriya, who has been in consultation with the nine provincial councils, said yesterday that such a move contravened the 13th Amendment. “We will introduce legislation in the different PCs to prevent the UDA from taking over the functions,” more..

RTI Commission cash-starved

Feb 12 (ST) The independent Right to Information (RTI) Commission will have to apply to the Presidential Secretariat each time it needs funds though the RTI Act specifies that it must have its own fund, activists say. As such, the commission will receive ad hoc injections of cash as and when it asks for it. This situation will continue until a separate allocation is made in the 2018 budget as is done for other independent commissions. more..

Govt riddled with corruption: Malik

Feb 12 (CT) UNP Chairman and Minister Malik Samarawickrema conceded that there was large scale corruption in the govt of which he is a frontline minister. "Yes, it is true that there is rampant corruption in the govt even now as we inherited a corrupt system from the last administration and practices of that regime were yet there," Malik told Ceylon Today in an interview at his World Trade Centre office on Thursday. more..

Limbo of Sri Lanka’s perpetually displaced

Feb 13 (ST) In early Nov 2012, a heated public discussion took place at a crowded hall in Tangalle just yards away from the abode of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The space was packed with indignant and vociferous community leaders in the deep South brandishing their property deeds and railing against the (then) Govt’s modus operandi of gobbling up every available inch of land for post-war development. This was the time that the previous regime had reached the heights of more..

Is right to property a human right?

Feb 13 (CT) Is right to property a human right? I really doubt it, in its unqualified and undefined terms. It is extremely controversial. This question has become important in the context that the Sub-Committee on Fundamental Rights on Constitutional Reforms has proposed it to be included in a new constitution. In human rights, there are still areas which are controversial, and the right to property is one of them. The important thing is to consider human rights as an evolving conception more..

‘All parties should cooperate to end environmental destruction’

Feb 13 (SO) Recent televised telephone conversation that Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake had with the Divulapitiya Divisional Secretary over soil excavation taking place at Dunagaha turned into a hot topic in the media, with many alleging that Deputy Minister’s language was offensive. Dy Minister said, he has already complained to the Bribery Commission against the Divisional Secretary and that he would not more..

Appraisal of Seven embroilments: Mid-term grading of Sirisena-Ranil duumvirate

Feb 13 (CT) A review of where this govt has arrived at, as we approach its mid-term point, will have to be done in segments. Today I will deal with seven controversial embroilments originating in the first span of the Sirisena-Ranil (S&R) duumvirate. In the order in which they surfaced they are:- Sidelining the war-crimes/human-rights UNHRC processes. Lack of success in prosecutions of alleged Rajapaksa clan mega-sleaze culprits and inner circle murders. A dead-end in the Lasantha and more..

Editorial: Crying for justice

Feb 13 (Island) A female student, who secured distinctions for all three subjects at the GCE A/L exam in the Arts stream from the Moneragala District in 2015 has been denied university admission. She was seen on television struggling, in vain, to hold back her tears rolling down her youthful cheeks on Saturday. R.M. Saumya said the UGC claimed that it had not received her online application for registration, which she had sent through a cyber café in a nearby town as more..

‘Not anyone’s carbon copy’

Feb 13 (NS) Leader of the FSP Prem Kumar Gunaratnam speakswith regard to Party’s future political activities and current political trends. Q: What is your future political plan? Are you going to continue as the FSP or join with a Party like the JVP? A: On Feb 1, the second party convention was held. This was under the theme of a party for the socialist class against anti-imperialist neo-liberalism. Previous govts since 1977 took forward one plan. more..

Hurrah for Ranjan Ramanayake!

Feb 13 (SO) Ranjan Ramanayake incident was ongoing in Parliament well into the previous week. The last news item I saw was, Ranjan answering questions about land in Divulapitiya and the JVP Leader saying it was not for him to answer the question asked, and the Prime Minister saving the day by saying he delegated the Deputy Minister of Social Empowerment and Welfare to field questions on the destruction of property in Divulapitiya. In many places around the Island, more..

Colombo City Centre: A place like no other

Feb 13 (CT) The sounds of the hustle and bustle of the city die away as you watch the sun set in an array of orange, pink and red over the serene emerald-green Beira Lake, which is juxtaposed against the brilliant backdrop of Downtown Colombo city skyline. Then the exquisite distant Indian Ocean coastline appears in your line of sight, basking in the setting Sun's radiant glow. These mesmerizing views no longer have to remain a dream. They can be a reality through the Colombo City Centre, more..

Face the Nation

Rajapaksa regime’s SAITM sin puts joint opposition in a spin

Feb 13 (ST) Perhaps it’s the case of the present Govt inheriting the past Rajapaksa regime’s SAITM sin. But those who coveted the crown must also bear its encrusted burdens and cannot casually flick the buck back to the past and cleanse itself of the original folly, even though it’s not of their own making. But whilst the coalition govt, playing surrogate mother, is busy trying to defend the private medical college it was bequeathed with, so is Rajapaksa joint opposition heavily engaged more..

When Elections? Whom to Blame?

Feb 13 (Island) Despite the 19th Amendment, most newspapers write of the nonexistent Election Commissioner. An Island editorial reports a meeting of the Joint Opposition (JO) with the Election Commission (EC) where all three members were present, as with the Commissioner. It is a natural outcome of govt’s undermining the EC by starving us of resources. We all know that our parliament has had murderers, liquor dealers, embezzlers, sexists and other assorted crooks. more..

Deforestation goes on unimpeded

Feb 13 (CT) The controversial events that surround the deforestation within the Wilpattu National Park and its adjacent forest reserves generally find them being associated with a certain racist element. The roots of the soupçon are based on the accusations made by environmentalists who have cried foul at the deforestation taking place. When the initial story broke out in the late 2010, claiming that more..

National Television: How the journey began

Feb 13 (Island) Today, 35 years after the commencement of the national television network, we have reached a milestone in broadcasting in Sri Lanka. Rupavahini, a gift from Japanese govt, was recognised as the leading broadcaster in Sri Lanka even though it started with basic facilities and minimal expertise. Today the media landscape in the country is vast and the broadcasting industry has grown several fold. We are now on the verge of digitising television broadcasting, more..

Sri Lanka entrepreneurs invited to Cuba

Feb 13 (SO) Sri Lanka has a lot of opportunities for trade and investment in Cuba which has a favourable business environment to conduct trade with the rest of the world, Cuban Ambassador Juana Elena Rodrigues told a seminar on Bilateral Trade between Cuba and Sri Lanka organized by National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka recently. Cuban Ambassador extended an open invitation to Sri Lanka entrepreneurs to visit the country and explore opportunities for trade and investment. more..

EPF/ETF barred from investing in stocks until cleared of pump-and-dump allegations

Feb 13 (ST) Central Bank (CB) is awaiting relevant authorities to clear the EPF and ETF of all charges pertaining to pump and dump allegations in order to restart investing in the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), officials said. The two state funds stopped investing in the CSE following the bad blood during the pump and dump era two years ago, which has pushed the CSE to lobby the Treasury to get the CB to lure more..

JLL Sri Lanka welcomes its new managing director, Steven Mayes

Feb 13 (Island) Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), Sri Lanka’s leading real estate consulting firm, announced the appointment of Steven Mayes as full-time Managing Director of its Sri Lanka operations. Mayes bring 35+ years of experience in real estate to JLL’s Sri Lanka business and will be based in Colombo. He is expected to advance the firm’s status as the leading real estate services provider in the country and explore new opportunities in an economy with significant growth potential. more..

‘Private PPPs, the way forward for Sri Lanka’

Feb 13 (SO) Sri Lanka is moving away from taxpayer-funded Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), which has been the norm, to privately funded PPPs - and a domestic Infrastructure Corridor Development plan within Sri Lanka will be promoted, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Rishad Bathiudeen told the Asia Pacific Business Forum (APBF) in Dhaka last week. He said the island is now trying to attract more private sector initiated PPPs rather than PPPs supported by the taxpayer’s money. more..

Mansur Cader as Secretary of SLMC

Feb 13 (CT) Mansur Cader has been appointed as the Secretary of SLMC, Party Chairman Basheer Segu Dawood said. Cader was the former Secretary of the High Command in 2015. Constitution of the SLMC has been amended and the position of the General Secretary has been scrapped off from the new constitution, and henceforth the position of the General Secretary will be known as Secretary. more..

Online applications for State universities: Follow handbook guidelines

Feb 13 (SO) Rebutting allegations that outstation students do not have facilities to submit online applications for Universities, Chairman of the UGC, Dr. Mohan de Silva said that it is important that applicants adhere to the regulations provided in the handbook and apply accordingly and within the stipulated period. He said that facilities have been provided for applicants to conveniently and freely forward their applications. “We are very particular about deadlines. more..

SL Navy takes part in Pakistan's AMAN-17 multinational naval exercise

Feb 13 (SLN) Commander of Navy, Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne who is on an official visit to Pakistan, was the Chief Guest at two important events; 7th International Maritime Conference and International Bands Display and Maritime Counter Terrorism Demonstration, held in parallel with the Multinational Exercise AMAN-17 yesterday (11). Prior to attending the above events Vice Admiral Wijegunaratne called on the Chief of Naval Staff of Pakistan Navy, Muhammad Zakaullah. more..

'Match fixing incident could open can of worms'

Feb 13 (Island) SLC President Thilanga Sumathipala assured that an impartial probe will be conducted to the alleged match fixing incident between Kalutara PCC and Panadura CC in the ongoing domestic cricket tournament. The Tier ‘B’ game between the two teams had been brought forward and some bizarre events saw Panadura CC winning the First Class game in T-20 style after being set a target of 164 runs in 15 overs more..

Hambantota school vandalised; students want security guard

Feb 13 (ST) In the wake of vandalism at a Hambantota tsunami-hit school rebuilt with funds from a Taiwan-based Buddhist charity, parents and students have called on education authorities to provide a security guard to prevent a recurrence. Vandals broke into the school last Sunday night and smashed 22 windows of the main hall of the Tzu Chi National School, named after the Buddhist charity which provided the funds to rebuild it after it was destroyed in the 2004 tsunami. more..

Mysterious killing in Warakapola: Police make breakthrough

Feb 13 (SO) Warakapola Police succeeded in solving the mysterious killing of a man in Ethnawala, Warakapola area on Thursday night. Investigations have revealed that the victim had been abducted by a vigilante group who had been on the lookout for a suspected thief after a number of thefts were reported in the area. The group had abducted the man and assaulted him which had resulted in his death. Realizing the man had died after being assaulted, abductors had then dumped more..

'Approval given to vehicle assembling company on the legal advice from AG'

Feb 13 (GDI) Eight containers containing used vehicle parts released from the Customs to its consignee who is engaged in vehicle assembling was based on a decision made by the cabinet on the basis of legal advice given by the Attorney General. This Cabinet decision was communicated to SL Customs by the Secretary to Treasury and not at the will of the finance minister, as certain parties with vested more..

Precautions prescribed to combat influenza

Feb 13 (NS) Health Ministry’s Epidemiology Unit and the National Influenza Centre of the Virology Unit of the Medical Research Institute have called on people who were at high risk with regard to contracting the Influenza A (H1N1) virus to take necessary precautions. Recently, eight confirmed cases were reported from Bibile while previously there were cases from Kandy where two deaths were reported from the renal unit of a hospital. Though there was a slight increase in H1N1 more..

Public sector wages on two days

Feb 13 (ST) The govt is exploring the possibility of paying public sector employees’ salaries in two installments each month as a remedy for the sudden cash-flow problems in the Treasury. A proposal has been made to pay the basic salary of public servants on the 25th or a date between the 20th and the 25th and allowances on a date between the 5th and the 10th. The state is spending 40% of the national income to pay salaries and pensions of govt employees. more..

Govt undecided on PM’s call for state of emergency

Feb 13 (ST) Disaster Management Department statistics published online yesterday show that 493,556 people across the districts of Trinco, Gampaha, Hambantota, Moneragala, A'pura, Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya, Ratnapura, Kegalle, Kurunegala, Puttalam and Kandy have been hit so far by the current drought, said to be the worst in four decades. This comes in the wake of a Cabinet paper put up by PM a fortnight ago, more..