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Parliament: Opposition MPs stage fast in defence of Mahinda

Apr 21 (Island) Opposition MPs and some ministers of the UPFA commenced a continuous fast in the Well of Parliament yesterday demanding that the govt immediately put an end to what they called a political witch hunt against Opposition politicians including former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and ex-defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. The hunger strike commenced in protest against summoning more..

UPFA constituents decide against voting for 19A

Apr 21 (Island) Constituents of the UPFA decided not to vote for the 19th Amendment to the Constitution Bill of the govt. DNA MP Vijitha Herath, who attended the party leaders’ meeting held at the Parliament complex told journalists that the SLFP-led UPFA had informed of its decision at the meeting. The final decision whether the debate on the 19th amendment Bill previously scheduled for today and tomorrow would be taken at a party leaders’ meeting to be held this morning, more..

Nimal named as Sub-Contractor

Apr 21 (CT) UPFA members who were protesting in the Well of Parliament yesterday called Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva a sub-contractor of the govt. Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva was not seen among all the SLFP and UPFA leaders including former Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne, Opposition Whip W.D.J. Seneviratne, Susil Premajayantha and Dinesh Gunawardene who were associated with the protesting MPs after the House was adjourned. more..

'MR can seek restraining order from court'

Apr 21 (CT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said lawyers of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa could obtain a restraining order against the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) if the latter does not want to be questioned. Wickremesinghe was responding to calls from Opposition MPs to stop harassing former President Rajapaksa by summoning him before the CIABOC. more..

Perumal meets Wiggy

Apr 21 (CT) The first Chief Minister of the merged North and East Province, Varatharaja Perumal and the demerged Northern Province's first Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswarn met in Jaffna on Friday. Varatharaja Perumal who had arrived from India has expressed his intention of entering politics by stating that he would act independently without aligning any political party during his meeting with Chief Minister Wigneswaran. The meeting between Wigneswaran and Perumal lasted for nearly one hour more..

Landslide in Haldamulla

Apr 21 (Island) Another landslide occurred in an area encompassing five acres in Thambadiyathenna estate at Nikapotha, Haldummulla in the Badulla District yesterday morning, according to the Disaster Management Centre (DMC). The DMC however said that no damages to property or loss of life had been reported. The latest landslide had occurred in an area where there were no houses and it was not near the previous landslide area in Haldamulla last year. more..

Pera student union declares campus out of bounds for all politicians

Apr 21 (Island) Undergraduates of Peradeniya University warned that they would not allow the university administration to bring politicians including President Maithripala Sirisena for opening of new faculties and buildings within the university premises. President of the Students’ Council charged that govt members were trying to gain political mileage by attending ceremonies to open the new Management Faculty, more..

Rs. 30 m pipe borne water project for Hambantota

Apr 21 (DN) The Housing and Samurdhi Ministry allocated Rs. 30 million for the provision of pipe borne water to the Hambantota District and to extend the existing pipe born water supply in the district, Hambantota District Secretary R.C. De Soysa said. He had instructed officials to make arrangements to provide pipe borne water to the Sithulpawwa Raja Maha Viharaya and its surrounding villages. Steps have been taken to develop and give a new lease of life to more..

Welikada Prison Riots: Call for transparent probe

Apr 21 (CT) The inquiry into the Welikada Magazine Prison riot and massacre in 2012 which claimed the lives of 27 prisoners is being swept under the rug by the govt, former political prisoner, Sudesh Nandimal said. Nandimal, the sole eyewitness willing to testify about the allegedly State sponsored killings inside the Welikada Prison in November 2011, said the families and relatives of the slain prisoners have planned a massive protest demonstration during the first week of May opposite PM, more..

'If I can't appoint a Minister, I don’t need such a post'

Apr 21 (DM) Commenting on the charge of providing MP Tissa Attanayake a ministerial post as a bribe, former President Rajapaksa on Sunday said that there was no point of holding presidency if he cannot appoint a Minister. “National security has been challenged today. I received a New Year gift recently asking me to report to the Bribery Commission regarding a bribe. Accordingly, the bribe and my offence are providing a more..

NUF welcomes SLFP electoral reform proposal

Apr 21 (Island) National United Front (NUF) led by M.M. Zuhair, PC has welcomed the electoral reform proposals of the SLFP as a major step in the right direction to change the existing electoral system and introduce a combination of the first-past -the post (FPP) system and the proportional representation (PR) system as promised in the presidential election manifesto of the present govt. The NUF has said in a media statement: "The people of this country have, on Jan 8, clearly mandated more..

Dialog Partners Vision 2020 Programme to eliminate avoidable blindness

Apr 21 (DN) Dialog Axiata PLC has partnered 'Vision 2020', a joint programme by the World Health Organization and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness to eliminate avoidable blindness among citizens. The Global Vision 2020 programme consists an international membership of government agencies, non-governmental organisations, professional associations, eye-care institutions and corporates around the world. In Sri Lanka, the programme is spearheaded by more..

TNA wants more aid for IDPs

Apr 21 (CT) TNA MP Suresh Premachandran said the Ministry of Resettlement should make arrangements to provide basic needs to the people who were permitted to resettle recently in Valikamam-North. "Simply releasing the lands is not enough. The govt should consider providing the people being resettled with some basic facilities to the people to enable them to pick up the threads of life once again" he said. more..

Zoo opened despite threats: Hashim

Apr 21 (Island) Highways and Investment Promotion Minister Kabir Hashim praised Tourism and Sports Minister Navin Dissanayake for taking a bold step to open the Zoo at Pinnawala despite alleged threats by a senior politician in the area. Speaking at the opening of the first Open Air Zoological Gardens in Pinnawala last Friday, he said Dissanayake had allocated Rs. 374 million from his Ministry, while the Treasury contributed Rs. 487 million to construct the zoo. more..

Allow NGOs to help Sampur IDPs

Apr 21 (CT) Trincomalee Urban Council Member, S. Nanthakumar has appealed to the government to allow international and local Non-Governmental Organizations to assist in resettlement of IDPs from Sampur when they are allowed to resettle in their own areas. When the Sampur region was declared a High Security Zone in 2006, around 2,000 IDPs from 800 families were compelled to live in temporary shelters in Kaddaiparichchan, Killiveddy, Manalasenai and Pattithidal. more..

SL pledges to link rights to development

Apr 21 (Island) Minister Rosy Senanayake recently addressed the International Conference on Population and Development at the UN headquarters in New York, USA. At the conference, Minister pledged Sri Lanka’s ongoing commitment to the ICPD Programme of Action which was developed 20 years ago to realize human rights in the process of development, to ensure that all persons benefit from their individual rights more..

EEB, Fentons join hands with CMA

Apr 21 (DN) Two more prominent commercial organizations have joined hands with the Certified Management Accountants (CMA), Sri Lanka in its efforts to produce management accountants who are skilled and well trained in their valued profession. One is, the CEB, long standing, govt owned, largest electricity supplier in the country. The other, Fentons Limited, renowned commercial entity has a history that goes back to 1921 and is engaged in multiple and diverse businesses. more..

Computer literacy to reach 75% by 2016

Apr 21 (DN) Sri Lanka’s mobile industry is fast developing and mobile handsets have overtaken the country’s population, Technomedics Healthcare Solutions consultant Murali Prakash said. Speaking at their annual conference at the Kingsbury Colombo, he said that today there are over 21.5 million mobiles. Sri Lankan mobile landscape is fast changing. He said that similarly the internet usage too is on the rise and it is estimated that 4.2 million surf the net. more..

BoC posts record Rs. 20.3 b profit in bank’s history

Apr 21 (DN) Bank of Ceylon has recorded the highest ever profit before tax (PBT) in the bank’s history as well as in the Sri Lankan banking industry of Rs.20.3 billion, achieving a growth of 29% compared to the previous year. Post tax profit stood at Rs. 13.6 billion, a 12% growth. Group has reported Rs.21.4 billion PBT recording a 33% growth over last year with the Bank dominating the results of the Group accounting for 95% of earnings more..

CSE to host conference for regional exchanges

Apr 21 (DM) The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) in association with the South Asian Federation of Exchanges (SAFE) will host the South Asian Investment Conference and SAFE Annual General Meeting on April 26th and 27th in Colombo. Minister Ravi Karunanayake, Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva, the Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Tilak Karunaratne and the CSE Chairman Vajira Kulatilaka, will grace the inauguration ceremony on the 27th. more..

Commercial Bank’s ATMs set new records this Avurudu

Apr 21 (Island) If withdrawals from the ATMs of Commercial Bank in the ‘Avurudu’ season are anything to go by, Sri Lankans celebrated their New Year on a grand scale in 2015, establishing new records for cash dispensed from the largest automated teller network owned by a single bank in the country. The previous record of Rs 2.05 billion for cash withdrawals in a single day set on 11th April 2014, was broken on Friday, 10th April 2015, when users of the Commercial Bank’s more..

AASL elections: Sugath to enter two-horse race as Hareen’s nomination rejected

Apr 21 (Island) Uva Province CM Hareen Fernando’s nomination for the post of President of Athletics Association of Sri Lanka was rejected by the General Committee of AASL on Monday paving the way for former national athlete Sugath Thilakaratne to enter a two horse race for the top post of the athletics governing body. Retired DIG Upali Kumarasiri is the other contestant for the post of president. more..

Right to Information Law should not promote industrial espionage and hurt investment

Apr 21 (EN) There has been much debate about the 19th Amendment conferring rights to foreigners, albeit foreigners who went to the trouble of setting up unincorporated associations along with three Sri Lanka citizens. The matter was settled by an amendment to the Gazetted text, approved by the Supreme Court. Let us leave aside the vexed question of whether foreigners should benefit from the right to information (RTI). An important question that has been neglected in the rush is more..

Hambantota Port container handling in disarray?

Apr 21 (DN) The shipping industry is making inquiries from the SLPA if proper marketing has been done for the Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port Hambantota Container Terminal (under the second stage) which is to be opened soon. The shipping industry say that no shipping line has given an undertaking to call over at the MMRP in Hambantota. “This is also on course of becoming another major white elephant in the future adding another major financial burden to economy.” more..

A Nation on the Rise - Halted in its stride

Apr 21 (NS) Gotabhaya Rajapaksa earned the respect and admiration of the citizens of this country with his leadership and excellent management skills that resulted in ending a 30-year- long-war. As impressive are his post-war efforts to transform Colombo and other cities through development of infrastructure under the ten -year Urban Development Framework (UDF). In a short period of 5 years, Colombo has blossomed more..

Editorial: JVP at crossroads

Apr 21 (Island) The JVP may have thought that everything was hunky dory after the defeat of President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Jan. 08 presidential election and the resultant collapse of the UPFA govt. Having helped dislodge the Rajapaksa dispensation, it sought to arrest the erosion of its support base and eat into the SLFP’s vote bank while tapping the so-called floating votes with an eye to the next parliamentary election. But, its plan to shore up its image and regain lost ground more..

Requirements for Tamil contribution to sustainable national change

Apr 21 (Island) The inability of the govt to force through its decisions, and the appearance of opposition forces supportive of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa gaining ground, has generated concerns about the government’s long term stability. The defeat of the govt’s money bill in Parliament has highlighted the structural weakness of the govt. The difficulty that the govt has been experiencing in fulfilling its main election promises, catching the corrupt and passing 19th Amendment, more..

'CC sackings: Prez violated SLFP constitution'

Apr 21 (CT) The SLFP Central Committee (CC) headed by Party President Maithripala Sirisena sacked five CC Members, on Saturday,11 April. Former Ministers Bandula Gunawardene, Rohitha Abeygunawardena, Salinda Dissanayake, S.M. Chandrasena and T.B. Ekanayake were replaced in the CC by Ministers Arjuna Ranatunga and Nandimithra Ekanayake and Western Provincial Councillors Ediriweera Weerawardena, more..

President's seat gets hot

Apr 21 (CT) Going by a recent report on a 'behind the news' segment on TV, President Sirisena has told the UPFA leaders that he is under tremendous pressure from the West and India. What Prime Minister Modi wants cannot be done but nor can we refrain from doing so; he is supposed to have said. He explained his advocacy of a National Government which included the UNP by saying that it was an unavoidable answer to western pressure because Ranil Wickremesinghe and the UNP more..

Too many calendars

Apr 21 (NS) How many calendars does one country need? There is the globally-accepted Gregorian calendar, the Chinese calendar, solar and lunar calendars. But Sri Lanka is probably the only country that makes use of three calendars. We work by the Gregorian calendar, observe the lunar calendar for religious purposes, there is that added advantage of poya holiday and we observe the solar calendar just so we could celebrate the Sinhala, recently christened Sinhala and Hindu New Year. more..

'Over 70 MPs support me'

Apr 21 (CT) Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva said that he has a list of signatures of over 70 MPs expressing support to him as the Opposition Leader and that it has been handed over to the Secretary of the UPFA, Susil Premajayantha who first directed the request to appoint him as the Opposition Leader. Q: You appealed in Parliament not to backstab and said you were ready to give up position of Opposition more..

A Clear-eyed assessment from afar

Apr 21 (GV) Darkness, movement in the bathroom. No need for lights until somebody breaks a toe. Ouch. I would’ve never known it was broken if it weren’t sticking so clearly in the wrong direction. There is not that much pain, but a visit to the emergency room seems to be in order. And then I’m there and before I know it am in a private room. This is a good hospital, but Baylor Hospital (in Dallas) is also a teaching hospital so the first guy that comes in is clearly the new guy. more..

Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers: Reflections from visit to Sri Lanka

Apr 21 (GV) I first visited Sri Lanka in 2003. I took leave from the Australian Dept of Immigration and Citizenship for a short humanitarian stint with a Sri Lankan NGO during a Norwegian Peace Initiative-ceasefire. The civil war spanning over 25 years ended with the defeat of the LTTE in 2009. During my brief experience in 2003 in Jaffna, I did not fully understand the history of the conflict, the implications and impact on civilians but I do recall Jaffna in the North was heavily militarised. more..

e-Tourist Visa scheme: High hopes and hiccups

Apr 21 (SO) On arrival visas was a promise extend by the India Premier Narendra Modi during his historic visit to Sri Lanka in March this year. His promise elicited a lot of excitement, for obtaining visa to India had become somewhat a tedious task for the scores of thousands who visit the giant neighbour for reasons ranging from shopping to medical care and everything in between. Converting the promise to a cyber reality, more..

How pornography will destroy an entire young generation

Apr 21 (CT) Pornography is now very much a celebration of the misguided sexuality that dominates nearly every aspect of youth culture and lies at the core of Sri Lanka’s “open” economy. Adult entertainment, as it is benignly called, glorifies the dehumanization of “sexy” (often white) women. It champions a section of the human community that is devoid of compassion, empathy and love. Young Sri Lankans see on their mobile phones or laptops and tablets sex scenes, eroticized more..

The way forward: Charismatic leader or ordinary citizens?

Apr 21 (CT) The President of Sri Lanka for the next five years (assuming the constitutional reforms are passed in parliament) is Mr. Maithripala Sirisena. However, it appears that the new political race, precisely owing to the reforms, are for the Prime Minister post, and possibly that of the Leader of the Opposition. The same kind of politicking that was there for President, Chief Minister and Mayor is now being played out for the PM post! Even parties within the coalition, including the SLFP and the JHU more..

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