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Sri Lanka on right track to achieving sustainable democracy

Jan 31 (DW) Sri Lanka's new leader Maithripala Sirisena, who defeated former president Mahinda Rajapksa in the Jan 8 poll, says he wants to reverse the "revenge politics" of the former regime as he recently reinstated the country's former CJ Shirani Bandaranayake, who was impeached two years ago after she refused to support a law granting greater powers to Rajapaksa's brother. The proposed reforms, to be enacted in the first 100 days of Sirisena being in office, more..

Casino operations in Sri Lanka

Jan 31 (FT) Casinos are not the playgrounds for the rich and the dashing anymore. The era when it was gentlemen in black tie and ladies in glistening jewels and evening dress is over. It is not super-sophistication – nor is it Westernisation. Great numbers from all walks of life play the wheel. Casinos have sprung up in Asia – Macau, Malaysia, Nepal, Goa and at one time in great numbers in Sri Lanka – still a licensed few are left. The attire is of little consequence but more..

Shoes for the IDPs to return to their original places!

Jan 31 (CT) After British PM David Cameron's visit to the Sabapathy camp for IDPs at Chunnakam in the Jaffna Peninsula, when he arrived in the island for the Commonwealth Summit in Nov 2013, another representative of the British Govt visited the camp recently. British Foreign Minister, Hugo Swire, visited the Sabapathy camp on Thursday and assured the IDPs that his government was confident that the new Govt of Sri Lanka would resettle them in their original places as early as possible. more..

IN: Student input into decision-making; OUT: Leadership prog

Jan 31 (ST) A system where councils and other decision-makers are accountable to students of the decisions they take, will be established immediately, said new State Minister Prof Rajiva Wijesinha. The Minister intends to meet current students, once every two weeks. He has also decided to scrap the controversial ‘Leadership’ programme and recommence the English programme, a pet project he introduced in the 1990s. more..

Revisiting Conquest Democracy

Jan 31 (Island) We are presently witnessing the maturing of Sri Lankan democracy, specifically in the form of a transition from conquest democracy to consensual democracy. About a quarter of a century ago, perhaps it was in 1990 or 1991, I wrote an article in the Lanka Guardian under the heading ‘Conquest Democracy’. The title showed that I was clearly being derisive and my intent was satirical, aimed at poking fun at the stupid and brutal antics of the Jay Gang of JRJ and more..

Editorial: Budget batta

Jan 31 (Island) Santa apparently does not want to leave this country. He has been here since last November. He was sighted near Diyawanna on Thursday. The new govt has presented its mini budget or budget batta for 100 days. Its detractors say the mountain laboured and brought forth a mouse. But, it, in our book, is a textbook welfare budget which, if properly implemented, will help ameliorate the ordinary people’s economic woes to a considerable extent. more..

Massive financial scams at Sri Lanka Tourism under probe

Jan 31 (CT) In the backdrop of alleged massive financial irregularities at Sri Lanka Tourism in the past years, Minister of Tourism and Sports, Naveen Dissanayake, said he would set up a committee to probe all complaints that have been brought to light. While Sri Lanka Tourism's IT Department and the Chairman's office are still sealed for further investigations, the minister said, to begin with, he will appoint a new Sri Lanka Tourism chairman more..

Laurels sit lightly on Lankan doc in the Caymans

Jan 31 (ST) On holiday in Sri Lanka, there is no undue excitement tinged with arrogance, only humble and matter-of-fact acceptance. On his return to the Cayman Islands, there awaits a great honour, which Dr. Sarath Seneviratne takes in his stride. Tomorrow (26), he will be bestowed the Award for ‘Emerging Pioneer in Health Services’and invited to join the PM of the Cayman Islands, Alden McLaughlin, for the subsequent celebrations which are part of the pomp and pageantry more..

Post-election reflections: Calling the ethnicists’ bluff

Jan 31 (ST) The election, we are told, was approved by presidential astrologers. As we all know now, they failed their political client miserably. What they could not predict, or did not wish to tell their client, was that the political fortunes of the people of this country were to change dramatically, and for the better. On Jan 8, an unprecedented 82% of voters turned up to vote, and the vast majority voted for change. The result announced on Jan 9 provided Sri Lankans with more..

Undiyal money transfer a threat to security

Jan 31 (NS) Along with the arrest of notorious drug kingpin Gampola Vidanalage Samantha Kumara alias Wele Suda on January 12, the hawala remittance system also commonly called the undiyal system has once again caught the attention of authorities. An informal money transfer system (IMTS), it was through this that supporters of the terrorist group LTTE were able to pump funds in to the organization during the height of the war. more..

Interesting challenges for the new govt

Jan 31 (NS) It is a good start for the new govt. Number of Cabinet ministers being reduced to 27 was a significant victory. It promotes cost effective solution and thereby leads to good governance. But the govt should also focus on other important issues. The co-partners of this govt are UNP, UPFA members who crossed over, JHU, TNA , SLMC, All Ceylon Muslim Congress and Digambaram’s Party. The 100 day program would be a result oriented program. more..

Sri Lanka Govt and 13th Amendment

Jan 31 (NS) It has been a pleasure to read the 100 days implementation program by the new regime, 2015, in a country that practices, bribery, corruption, thuggery, gang warfare, religious conflicts, racial and regional ethnicity conflicts. Citizens of Sri Lanka should appreciate and welcome the changes. The change has been change of governance, may be, in agreement with some western influence and manipulation, because of their falcon formation, defence/offence strategy. more..

President Maithripala Sirisena: Simplicity personified

Jan 31 (SO) I come to office early morning and take a telephone call to one specific number once in a while. A person answers the phone in a gentle and polite manner. He is not in a hurry as many other leading politicians. He never said ‘no’ to any of the questions I asked him despite my not being close to him at that time. After a telephone conversation one morning, I went to him for an interview at his official residence. more..

The future state of the nation: A response to Dayan

Jan 31 (CT) I refer to the article by Dr Dayan Jayatilleka under the caption “Pre-Independence Day Thoughts 2015: The Future State Of The Nation” where he discusses the sentiments expressed by TNA politician Mr. Sumanthiran that the “full implementation of the 13th Amendment is no lasting solution.” He extrapolates from such sentiments to surmise that the removal of the roadblocks to the full implementation of the 13th Amendment is not enough for the TNA MP and that more..

Does one violate Buddha’s teaching by worshiping objects?

Jan 31 (CT) I have read the article entitled “The President’s Faux Pas” written by Sharmini Serasinghe in Colombo Telegraph. Referring to President’s homage to Bo tree, she observes: “, it is with deep despair, that I as a Buddhist noted, you President Maitripala Sirisena paying homage to a Bo tree, even though it is venerated by a majority of the Buddhist populace of this country. Furthermore, by paying homage to a Bo tree, you Mr. President are also openly violating more..

James Packer's Crown pulls plug on $400m Sri Lanka casino plan

Jan 30 (AFP) James Packer's Crown Group says it will not go ahead with a proposed plan to develop a $400 million luxury hotel and resort in Sri Lanka, following a decision by the govt in Colombo to scrap tax concessions for the project. On Thursday SL's new govt decided to cancel generous tax concessions for three foreign resort developments – including Mr Packer's resort – and said it would not issue them licenses more..

Docs get assurance from Health Minister about schools for their children

Jan 30 (Island) Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne had assured the admission of doctors’ children to the best schools following annual transfers, GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr. Navin de Soysa said. He pointed out that the new Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasm had announced that the quota system offered to various categories of high officials to admit their children to suitable schools had been nullified. As a result many doctors were worried about the education of their children more..

Nimal praises ITN, lashes out at govt

Jan 30 (Island) Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva, challenged the new govt to prove allegations against members of the previous administration so that anyone found guilty by a court of law could be deprived of an opportunity to contest next parliamentary election. The new govt and various interested parties had made a spate of accusations at different forums and lodged complaints with the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, MP de Silva said. more..

SL keen to cooperate with UN investigation

Jan 30 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's govt has received encouragement from the UN to cooperate on an ongoing investigation into its human rights record, the Foreign Ministry said. President Maithripala Sirisena's senior advisor on foreign affairs, Jayantha Dhanapala, met the High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein in Geneva and briefed him on the new govt's policies. more..

We’ll not tax owners of old houses: Harsha

Jan 30 (DM) Policy Planning and Economic Development Deputy Minister Harsha De Silva said today the Mansion Tax would not apply to owners of old houses which they had inherited but on the rich who had built huge mansions without any paying any taxes to the Government. “This is not meant to tax owners ofold houses they had inherited. It is a means of obtaining funds from those who have built huge mansions without paying taxes owed by them to the Treasury,” he said. more..

Ban hopes Sri Lanka works with UN

Jan 30 (CG) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon hopes Sri Lanka works with the UN on the investigations over the war despite launching a new domestic investigation. Ban’s spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said that the UN is trying to verify how Sri Lanka will cooperate with the UN on the investigation. The Govt had yesterday announced it will launch a domestic investigation into the war and obtain the assistance of foreign experts if required. “We’ve seen those reports. more..

SLC to investigate Suresh Raina

Jan 30 (SK) Suresh Raina is being investigated by SLC because four years ago, he was seen with a woman who has been linked to a bookie. The Sri Lankan board is set to form a committee to investigate the matter. The decision to look into the issue was supposedly taken during an SLC executive meeting over a month ago. The panel, which will investigate Raina, includes Shammi Silva, Gamini Wickramasinghe and other more..

Grade 5 scholarship cut off marks released

Jan 30 (DM) The cut off marks for the grade 5 scholarship examination were released a short while ago by the education ministry. Royal College and Visakha Vidyalaya, Colombo requires the highest marks for entrance. The cut off marks released are as follows: Royal College, 186 marks: Visakha Vidayalaya – 185; Ananda College Colombo and Dharmaraja College, Kandy – 183. The full list GRADE FIVE SCHOLARSHIP SELECTION LIST - 2014 (SINHALA MEDIUM – Boys Schools) more..

ICC announces umpire and match referee appointments for World Cup 2015

Jan 30 (ICC) The ICC today announced the umpire and match referee appointments for the pool stage matches of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, which will be staged in Australia and NZ from 14 February to 29 March. Marais Erasmus and Nigel Llong will be the on-field umpires for the tournament opener between New Zealand and Sri Lanka in Christchurch on 14 Feb. S. Ravi and Simon Fry will be the third and fourth umpires, respectively, while David Boon will be the match referee. more..

Video: Even Ravi K. has to pay Mansion Tax: JVP

Jan 30 (DM) The JVP said today Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayke should be aware that he too would have to pay the newly imposed ‘Mansion Tax’ of Rs.1 million. “The Finance Minister is also subjected to this tax. We commend the Mansion tax as a means of acquiring money from those who have. The funds accrued from this tax should be properly monitored to make sure that the benefits will trickle down to ordinary citizen,” more..

Paddy harvest begins in Ampara

Jan 30 (CT) The Maha paddy harvesting season, in the Ampara District, has just begun with the rapid deployment of harvesting machines in hundreds of acres in the district. 68,967 hectares of land was cultivated during this Maha and the farmers of the district showed greater enthusiasm in paddy cultivation and the respective departments too extended their fullest support. However, the scarcity of water at the very beginning, floods as a result of unusual heavy rains, when the crops were more..

CJ Peiris treated worse than a labourer

Jan 30 (Island) NFF Media Spokesman Piyasiri Wijenayake questioned the validity of decisions delivered by the former Chief Justice Mohan Peiris and the lawyers who had taken their oath before him during the period he held office from January 15, 2013 to January 28, 2015. He asked, "If the appointment of former CJ Peiris is void at its inception then what will happen to the court’s decisions and lawyers who had taken their oaths before the CJ Peiris?" more..

India, Sri Lanka discuss voluntary repatriation of Lankan refugees

Jan 30 (PTI) India-Sri Lanka today held talks on voluntary repatriation of SL refugees in the country, within days of deciding to "re-engage" on the issue during a meeting between their foreign ministers. During the first meeting between the officials of the two countries, in which Indian side was led by the Joint Secretary in-charge of Lanka in the External Affairs Ministry, the two sides talked about various aspects related to repatriation, more..

Loku Seeya's sons demand justice for their murdered father

Jan 30 (CT) The two sons of Loku Seeya, the former kapuwa of Ragama Devalaya, who was kidnapped and tortured to death, lodged a complaint at the CID stating the urgency of justice for their dead father. Mohammed Nizan and Mohammed Nijad, after lodging the complaint, declared that they requested the CID to take up the complaint produced by former Minister Mervyn Silva regarding the murder of their father. "It has been three years since our father's demise. Why was he killed? more..

'Fonseka’s return to Parliament hinges on Attorney Generals opinion'

Jan 30 (Island) Former Army Commander and Ex MP Sarath Fonseka who was on Wednesday restored with his Four Star General rank, medals and pension that he was deprived of, following court convictions in 2010 and thereafter, is likely to return to the national legislature today. Minister Rajitha Senaratne asked by The Island, as to Fonseka’s chances of regaining his parliamentary seat, which he also lost following convictions by both military and civilian courts replied more..

JKH to continue the Waterfront property project

Jan 30 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s John Keells Holdings said it will continue the Waterfront property project as planned despite the new govt’s amendment to restrict the ability to rent space for gamin facility. The company said this in a stock exchange filling today. JKH says even though the proposed amendment will constrain the ability to command premium rentals on this component of the project the company will engage with the govt more..

Ravi, what is this?

Jan 30 (AM) A day after Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake proposed that all ministries and departments to stop the publication of political advertisements in news papers with immediate effect, several advertisements were carried in today’s papers in appreciation of Karunanayake who, according to advertisers, presented a people-friendly budget. Although the advertisements seemed like private ones, they reflected badly on the Finance Minister who was very specific in his more..

Banned toxic chemicals freely available

Jan 30 (Island) Five harmful agrochemicals such as Chlorpyrifos, Carparji, Proparji, Carbofuran and Glyphosate banned for sale, distribution and import by a special gazette notification in 2014 December in worst chronic kidney disease affected areas were freely available in areas such as the Moneragala and Kurunegala districts, CKD Research Scientist Dr. Channa Jayasumana said. He said that as the urine tests done on most kidney patients had revealed that the residues of more..

Finance Ministry affirms probe into Seychelles operations

Jan 30 (AM) An official audit and investigation process will be initiated to inquire into the non-strategic investments at Seychelles, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. “Seychelles is a country reputed worldwide as a tax haven has a handful of Sri Lankans living there as expatriates. Another issue of concern is to rationalize the reason for an international Branch of a state Bank to be established at Seychelles. more..

Chief kapuwa calls for independent Basnayake Nilame

Jan 30 (CT) Chief kapuwa of the Kataragama Devalaya, Somipala Ratnayake, requested President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to appoint an independent Basnayake Nilame, who can maintain the dignity of the position. Stating that Kataragama is a sacred site venerated by all, Ratnayake said that appointing a politician as Basnayake Nilame would be harmful to the Devalaya. He added that supporters of many political parties come to Kataragama seeking more..

A new approach to eradicate poverty in SL

Jan 30 (CT) Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake’s mini-budget with substantial offers to ordinary people – will be most welcome by many. Clearly, the minister must have taken the oncoming parliamentary election into account in designing the budget. However, occasional salary increases and random price-reduction of essential items are neither durable nor eliminate endemic poverty. The new govt’s 100-day program, in contrast, clearly has the potential to make a worthy contribution to more..

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