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SLFP opposes move to scrap civic rights of politicians

Feb 7 (FT) The SLFP asserted that it would not support any move to scrap the civic rights of MPs while criticising the UNP for colluding with the JO to sabotage investigations into crimes and corruption. UPFA General Secretary Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, taking part in yesterday’s special debate on the bond report and the reports of PRECIFAC, affirmed that SLFP was not prepared to abolish the civic rights of any individual. more..

Govt can't carry on like this; we need a change: Susil

Feb 7 (DM) Minister Susil Premajayantha said President Maithripala Sirisena would be compelled to effect changes at the national level soon after the LG elections because the current govt could not continue in this manner. "Although the UNP stated that when the election is over the current unity govt will continue as usual but anyone can understand that it was impossible to do so," he said. "The people want a change. Most of the sectors in the country are facing a crisis, more..

Ravi wholeheartedly embraces President’s anti-corruption drive

Feb 7 (Island) A new political culture should be ushered in and the efforts of the unity govt to eliminate corruption were reaching fruition, former UNP Minister Ravi Karunanayake told Parliament. He said he wholeheartedly agreed with the President on the latter’s sentiments expressed in the Independence Day speech––" the fight against corruption is the self-defence of a nation ... Strengthening the attitude for anti-corruption and implementing it is the self-defence more..

PM wants those found guilty of serious crimes stripped of civic rights

Feb 7 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday asked the political parties represented in Parliament whether they would support amending the Section 81 of the Constitution to deprive a person found guilty of serious crimes of his civic rights. Commencing the adjournment debate on the bond commission report and prez commission report on serious crimes and abuse of power in Parliament the PM said PRECIFAC more..

Campaign ends tonight; voting wisely is what remains

Feb 7 (DM) Political parties contesting Saturday’s local govt elections will have to end their campaigning at midnight today marking what the Elections Commission describes as the period of silence. It is worth noting that the election campaign was unprecedentedly calm with there being no sign of an upcoming election in many areas, despite of these elections being considered by the three main political parties -- the UNP, the SLFP and the SLPP considering it as a trend-setter for more..

Collateral damages of a breakdown of the coalition unthinkable

Feb 7 (DM) Election platforms can turn men into super heroes; they can turn politicians into inspiring leaders; they can drive audiences into enraged mobs; they can also turn themselves into caricatures of comical proportions, from which empty rhetoric might resonate for a short time. Some of the rhetoric, like that of Martin Luther King Jr., John Kennedy, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Nelson Mandela in our recent memory and the Ciceros and Mark Anthonies of ancient world, more..

'We’ve extended our fullest cooperation during investigations'

Feb 7 (DM) This special interview with PM Ranil Wickremesinghe centres around the forthcoming LG Elections and the current political situation in the country. Q: Q It’s just a few days before the elections. Shall we start on that topic? What will happen at the elections, Mr Prime Minister? A: Now the election heat is on. Casting of votes would be in the region of 50 to 60%. Even last time it was around 50%. more..

In Sabaragamuwa, every candidate is our candidate

Feb 7 (ST) As we drove through the Kegalle and Ratnapura districts in the Sabaragamuwa province, we saw flags and cutouts of candidates placed prominently in front of their party offices. Even along the interior roads, it was the same. But, most of these makeshift offices remain empty or manned by a few persons — some of them playing cards or carom. In contrast, party offices were hives of activity during past elections. more..

In the South, big guns battle out big issues

Feb 7 (ST) The sights and sounds of the deep South are still alluring though the transformation from a rural setting to concrete jungle is clearly evident. Lush green paddy with the harvest due in weeks sways as the gentle wind blows. Vast stretches of banana plantations seem unending. Harvest of the seasoned fruits are underway. Some are being loaded on to lorries with banana leaves serving as packaging material. more..

Ravi faults Marapana Committee

Feb 7 (DM) UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake yesterday slammed the Marapana Committee saying it has made a Kekille rajuge nadu thinduwa by recommending that he should be removed from the post of UNP's assistant leader. He said this during the debate on the presidential commission reports in Parliament. “I like to tell the UNPers that they should not destroy leaders but should work towards creating good leaders," more..

Video: Maharagama Apeksha Hospital gets PET Scanner

Feb 7 (AD) The positron emission tomography (PET) scanner, purchased with the funds collected from the public through a fundraising campaign supported by Manusath Derana, is currently in the process of being installed at a newly-built building of the Apeksha Hospital in Maharagama. The installation process is likely to be concluded within the coming days and will then be utilised by the hospital for cancer patients. more..

BASL frowns on criminal action against ex-CJ, judge

Feb 7 (Island) The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) yesterday took exception to criminal proceedings against the former Chief Justice Mohan Pieris PC and Justice A.H.M.D Nawaz, a sitting Judge of the Court of Appeal. The criminal proceedings against them have been initiated on the basis of professional advice given by them in their former capacities as the Attorney General and Deputy Solicitor General respectively, more..

CB seeks ETI bidder credibility info from Singapore’s financial intelligence unit

Feb 7 (FT) Central Bank of SL has sought information from Suspicious Transaction Reporting Office (STRO) - Singapore’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) - over the credibility of the Malaysian bidder for several assets of the EAP Group’s ETI subsidiaries. Despite the concerns that have been raised within local business circles over the credibility of Malaysian businessman negotiating on behalf of a Singaporean company to buy EAP more..

Prez Committee report on Meethotamulla garbage issue handed over to President

Feb 7 (PSL) The final report of the Presidential Committee appointed to inquire into the damage caused to life and property due to the collapse of the Meethotamulla garbage dump, was handed over to President Maithripala Sirisena, at the President’s Official Recidance, yesterday. The report was handed over to the President by Chairman of the Committee retired Court of Appeal Judge, Dr. Chandradasa Nanayakkara, more..

Missions won’t comment on treasury bond scam impact on projects

Feb 7 (Island) Australian High Commission has declined to confirm whether Treasury bond scam had been examined by Canberra before the recent finalization of a AUD 31 mn (Rs 3.8 bn) grant for the implementation of a four-year project to strengthen good governance. Secretary to the Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga, signed the agreement on behalf of the Govt of SL and High Commissioner more..

President revokes suspension of Brigadier Priyanka Fernando

Feb 7 (AD) President Maithripala Sirisena has revoked the suspension of Brigadier Priyanka Fernando from duties as the Minister Counsellor (Defence) attached to the Sri Lanka High Commission in London, Army Commander Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake said. President Maithripala has revoked the suspension of Brigadier Priyanka Fernando from duties as the Minister Counsellor (Defence) attached to more..

Mahendran-Weeratunga Parallels

Feb 7 (CT) Yesterday, this newspaper's lead story reported that steps are being taken to deport to former President Rajapaksa's first cousin Udayanga Weeratunga, Rajapaksa's Ambassador to Russia, recently detained in Dubai on Colombo's instigation by Interpol over a defence stores procurement scandal involving local taxpayers' money. Quoting Minister Sagala Ratnayaka it said, 'A team of Police officers would soon be sent to Dubai to bring former diplomat Udayanga Weeratunga to SL.' more..

The new math or the same old matrix

Feb 7 (FT) If MPs are O/L-failed, it’s a failure of the legislature that reflects poorly on the struggling electorate as much as on state education. But when the chief executive demonstrates his grasp of the new math (70=30), it’s a triumph of the new society and the new historiography which eludes the rest of us plebes. Sorry to note, though, that even patricians adept at culling four decades of national history – or perhaps it was merely the UNP’s 40 years in power that the President cut out more..

Bond Scam: Who is the mastermind?

Photographic evidence shows throat-slitting gesture by patriot mimics gruesome habit

Feb 7 (CT) In the wake of a slit-throat gesture at a protest by Brigadier Priyanka Fernando, the Defence Attaché of SL High Commission in London, on Sunday outside photographic evidence has surfaced indicating that SL security forces did just that to captured and therefore unarmed LTTE suspects. Killing prisoners of war is considered a war crime according to Human Rights Law. Photographs indicate that an LTTE combatant was killed by throat-slitting after being questioned. more..

British PM appoints Ranil Jayawardena as Trade Envoy for Sri Lanka

Feb 7 (ST) British PM Theresa May has appointed Ranil Jayawardena, MP, as her trade envoy for Sri Lanka. Mr Jayawardena’s role as trade envoy will be to support and enhance the development of Britain’s trade and investment with Sri Lanka. The PM’s Trade Envoy will be visiting Sri Lanka from 15th to 17th February to meet with senior members of the govt and engage with British business’s working in Sri Lanka, the British High Commission in Colombo said. more..

Video: Sri Lanka not accused of international war crimes: President

Feb 7 (AD) President Maithripala Sirisena says that Sri Lanka has not been accused of committing any international war crimes and reiterates that he will never allow the participation of foreign judges in the mechanism to investigate allegations of human rights violations. President said that former foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera agreeing to co-sponsor a resolution at the UNHRC in Geneva proposing the involvement of foreign judges more..

Arjun Aloysius, Kasun Palisena request bail

Feb 7 (NR) A written request calling for bail for remanded Perpetual Treasuries owner Arjun Aloysius and CEO Kasun Palisena has been submitted. Accordingly Colombo Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne ordered to submit relevant written statements pertaining to the bail application on the 16th of February. During the previous hearing Attorney Kalinga Indratissa representing Aloysius and Palisena informed Court that the charges filed against his clients cannot be considered more..

Japan confident of Sri Lanka’s Biz climate

Feb 7 (LBO) A Japanese business delegation, including chief executive officers and leading officials of some of the largest companies is visiting Sri Lanka to look at future investment opportunities, BOI said. A delegation of 59 are visiting the island on invitation of the PM and participated at the SL-Japan Economic Forum organized by the BOI at the Shangri-La Hotel, Wednesday. The delegation was led by Dr. Akio Mimura senior advisor, honorary chairman of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal. more..

Sri Lanka pick Asitha for T20 series, Jeevan Mendis returns

Feb 7 (CI) The first T20 squad of Chandika Hathurusingha's tenure features a preponderance of youth. Seam bowlers Asitha Fernando and Shehan Madushanka (20 and 22 respectively), inexperienced spinners Jeffrey Vandersay and Amila Aponso, and seam-bowling allrounder Dasun Shanaka, all feature for the two-match series. One old hand did return, however. Three years after he played his last international, legspinning more..

Video: Wi-Fi, the burning issue of the country: MR

Feb 7 (DM) Former president and MP Mahinda Rajapaksa ridiculed PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s renewed pledge that the country would be enabled with free public Wi-Fi by the year end, by saying that having free public Wi-Fi has become the burning issue of the country today. Mr. Rajapaksa sarcastically said villagers are asking for Wi-Fi instead of fertilizer for their farms. “Wi-Fi is one of the most necessary item of the people today. The most burning issue of the country today, more..

Two arrested with Rs. 20m worth gold in northern seas

Feb 7 (DM) Two smugglers had been arrested by the Navy along with 3.7kg of gold worth Rs. 20 million, in the seas off Kankesanthurai on Tuesday. Based on information received by the Navy, a Fast Attack Craft attached to the Northern Naval Command arrested the suspects, who are residents of Madagal. They had concealed 37 biscuits of gold, each weighing 100g, in a dinghy boat which was used for smuggling. The suspects, gold biscuits and dinghy were handed over to the Customs for more..

Sri Lanka window dressed fiscal data; hid borrowings: Auditor General

Feb 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka's has systematically window dressed fiscal data hiding borrowings to understate national debt and the budget deficits over a decade in a bid to circumvent a fiscal responsibility law, Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe said. "Because borrowing exceeded ceiling set by law, to hide them they had been taken off the books and transferred to different places," he told reporters. more..

Attempted rape ends up in death

Feb 7 (AD) Galenbindunuwewa Police have launched investigations into the murder of an individual at a residence in Dutuwewa, using an axe. Preliminary inquiries have revealed that the deceased had allegedly forcibly entered the residence in question after consuming alcohol and forced himself on a woman who was living by herself at the house. In an alleged act of self-defence, woman had attacked the individual with an axe after he attempted to rape her at around 2am more..

Fitch confirms Sri Lanka ‘B+’ rating

Feb 7 (LBO) Fitch Ratings has confirmed Sri Lnaka's 'B+' rating with a stable outlook, saying an International Monetary Fund backed program has improved budgets and monetary policy. However Sri Lanka's interest costs were about 38% of revenue, compared to about 9.4% in similar rated countries. Full statement is below: Fitch Ratings has confirmed Sri Lnaka's 'B+' rating with a stable outlook, saying an International Monetary Fund backed program has improved budgets and monetary policy. more..

Quick action important but legal process time consuming: Eran

Feb 7 (DM) Quick action should be taken against former CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran but it would take time because of the legal process in SL, which is a time consuming one, Minister Eran Wickramaratne said. He said that action would be taken against Mahendran upon the warrant issued against him by the Court. “We hope that quick action would be taken against Mahendran but it is not possible because of legal system more..

Sri Lanka tourist arrivals up 12.6% in Jan 2018, amid China plunge

Feb 7 (EN) Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals rose 12.6% from a year earlier to 246,972 in January 2018 with a surge in Indian visitors while China fell back. Tourists from India, the top generating market, soared 40% to 43,643 in January pushing South Asian arrivals up 32% to 54,815. Visitors from Pakistan rose 18.2% to 2,971 and Maldives was up 9.4 percent to 6,194. Western European arrivals rose 14.9% to 83,324 at the tail-end of the winter season after a weak 5.8% growth in Dec more..

Halt attacks on women candidates: Polls monitors

Feb 7 (Island) Election monitors have once again urged the govt to take immediate action against attacks on female candidates in the LG polls fray. Several of them have been physically abused in the last 72 hours. CaFFE and PAFFREL said some of the candidates had also been sexually abused. PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi said they had received 18 complaints so far of attacks on female candidates. "There have been attempts in Thambuttegama, A'pura and more..

Sangakkara calls for Test pay minimum to stop T20 exodus

Feb 7 (AFP) Sri Lankan veteran Kumar Sangakkara has called for Test cricket to introduce a minimum match fee for all countries to stop young players ditching the long-form for lucrative Twenty20 leagues. Sangakkara, the fifth-highest run scorer in the history of Test cricket, retired from the first-class game last year but has continued playing for domestic T20 franchises around the world, including in this week's Hong Kong T20 Blitz. more..

Speed fiends to be trapped from Feb 14

Feb 7 (Island) A new system to nab speeding drivers on expressways will be introduced from Feb 14, the RDA says, adding that there has been an increase in road accidents in recent times. Errant drivers will be given images of their vehicles exceeding speed limits and fined when they exit the expressway under the new system. The RDA says that around 27% of the accidents on the expressways occur due to speeding. Research conducted by Moratuwa University students has found that more..

Dengue spread slows down

Feb 7 (Island) Epidemiology Unit said that 7356 dengue cases had been reported from the beginning of Jan to 5 Feb, 2018. Unit website has recorded 1,292 cases in the Colombo District by the first week of this month. Of them 410 were from the Colombo City. Last year the Unit recorded 2,734 cases in the Colombo District in January. The other districts which recorded considerably large number of cases were Gampaha (627), Batticaloa (558), Kurunegala (537), Jaffna (551), Puttalam (479) more..

Sterner tests await batsmen as teams move to Mirpur turner

Feb 7 (CI) Thank heavens the first match is over. In Chittagong, bowlers were buffeted by meaningless run-making gales, boundaries came in endless waves, and the game, eventually, was sunk - a few confidence-boosting hundreds the only salvageable thing from the whole affair. It was a pitch so heavily loaded in the batsmen's favour, it was difficult to get a gauge on how these teams really stack up. more..

USAID launches youth employment and skills project in Central Province

Feb 7 (USE) Visiting U.S. Department of State Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Daniel Rosenblum opened the Kandy YouLead office on Feb 2, which will expand employment opportunities for youth in the Central Province. Funded by USAID and implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Skills Development and Vocational Training and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Central Province, YouLead is a 1.8-billion-rupee program more..

Can’t form Govt with the corrupt: President

Feb 7 (DM) While stating that he left the Rajapaksa Govt in 2014 due to fraud and corruption, President Maithripala Sirisena today said he was surprised at the way the incumbent Govt behaved. He was addressing SLFP’s final election rally in Polonnaruwa. President Sirisena said irrespective of being in any Govt he had decided to not to form Govt with fraudsters. “I have taken a clear decision to not to form Govt with such parties-be it the former Govt or the present Govt,” he said. more..

'Defeat corrupt camp of UNP, SLFP & bud'

Feb 7 (LT) “We ask the voters to change to cast their votes. The present corrupt administration cannot be changed without the voter changing his and her attitudes. We ask the people to use this election to utilize people’s money without any corruption for development at local council level and to give a massive boost to the programme to build a new social system after the general election in 2020. There would be various instances and more..