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MS rules out nomination for MR

May 29 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday told the representatives of the UPFA that he could not agree to offer nominations to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest the next election under under its betel symbol as the prime ministerial candidate, sources said. President, in his capacity as the UPFA Chairman, met the leaders of the parties aligned with it politically on Wednesday evening. more..

Colombo reluctant to demilitarise: report

May 29 (Hindu) Notwithstanding the 4-month-old Sirisena govt’s repeated assertions of attaching priority to ethnic reconciliation in the country, the regime has been found to be reluctant in demilitiarising the Northern and Eastern Provinces, where Tamils live in large numbers, according to a study of Oakland Institute, a U.S.-based policy think tank. As part of the study, the organisation has prepared two reports, which were made public on Thursday. more..

Customs confiscate Rs. 2 b worth rosewood on transhipment

May 29 (FT) The Customs yesterday confiscated a container with rosewood worth of Rs 2 billion. Customs Department Additional Director General - Thilak Perera said that it was a transhipment container which was shipped from Madagascar to China. “The container was seized by the Customs on a tip off given by World Customs Organisation,” he added. He said the rosewood is used for making luxury furniture items. The Department has conducted investigations on this more..

Cabinet to make final decision on 20A next week

May 29 (FT) Govt said that female representation at the next general election would be increased from 5% to 10%, as suggested in the 20th Amendment. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that it was proposed to include 5-10% female candidates in polling divisions, while including 1 out of 3 female candidates at the additional district level. He also said that more attention would be given to appointing female MPs from the national list. more..

Northern PC Mulls desalination project

May 29 (CT) Northern Provincial Council (NPC) is actively examining the prospects of implementing a sizable desalination project aimed at a permanent solution to the recurring crisis of drinking water in the province. A special meeting at which this issue was discussed at length, chaired by CM C.V. Wigneswaran, last Wednesday with participants including TNA MPs Mavai S Senathiraja, S. Sritharan, NPC Ministers, Councilors, Opposition Leader S.Thavarasa and many others more..

PCB confident Wettimuny will say yes

May 29 (GEO) Pakistan’s calendar is chockablock with international commitments in the coming months but the country’s cricket authorities are confident of finding a window in case a foreign team agrees to visit here. And they are targetting Sri Lanka to be that team. Well-placed sources in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said that hopes are high about the possibility of Zimbabwe’s ongoing tour to be followed by another home series “as soon as possible”. more..

Sri Lanka accused of waging silent war as Tamil land is appropriated by Army

May 29 (Guardian) Six years after the end of Sri Lanka’s long and bloody civil war, a silent conflict is being waged across the island, with tens of thousands of govt troops continuing to occupy the north and east and the army expanding its property developments on land belonging to displaced Tamils, a new report claims. Although the 26-year-long conflict between the majority Sinhalese govt & Tamil separatists finally ended in 2009 more..

Kotakethana villagers run riot over High Court acquittal of murder accused

May 29 (Island) The Police yesterday evening used tear gas and water cannon to disperse angry villagers of Kotakethana, who obstructed roads over the High Court decision earlier in the day to acquit the three accused in the 2012 double murder there. The protesters obstructed traffic at the Lihiniya Junction on the Ratnapura-Embilipitiya road. Police Spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekara told the media that the police had used minimum force to disperse the crowd. more..

Growers taken on visit to Botanicoir factory

May 29 (HW) Horticultural coir supplier Botanicoir's directors Samantha and Kalum Balasuriya recently took key soft-fruit customers to visit the factory in Sri Lanka to see the coir-producing process from start to finish. Among the customers was Eric Drummond, whose Herefordshire farm is switching to tabletop strawberry production using Botanicoir's strawberry growbags. "We're doing 30 acres this year, and 30 acres next, and it's been very effective," he said. "We've definitely noticed the difference and more..

'DG Customs was victim of misuse of power'

May 29 (DM) The Director General of Customs was compelled to resign as a result of undue influence being brought to bear on him by a govt minister who was engaged in the business of importing and exporting dried ericanuts, JVP charged. JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti said that this minister had used the power given to him by his office to influence the former DG of Customs to help him to import dried ericanuts from Indonesia before more..

SriLankan gets new batch of cadet pilots

May 29 (Island) SriLankan Airlines latest batch of cadet pilots were awarded their Wings when they passed out as Junior First Officers at a Wings Ceremony which was held at the Airline Centre recently. A total of two batches graduated at the ceremony having undergone a stringent one-year training programme before qualifying to fly with the national carrier and obtaining a CAASL licence (Civil Aviation Authority) which is a globally recognised certification.   more..

TATA mulls auto, energy investments

May 29 (EN) India’s TATA group is considering investments in making automobiles for export to Pakistan, and energy and infrastructure in Sri Lanka, according to a visiting official. The Indian conglomerate announced its new Sri Lankan investment push largely aimed at using the island as the primary base to enter the competitive Pakistani market. “We want to use Sri Lanka as our manufacturing base to expand to the Pakistani market,” it quoted Madhu Kannan, member of more..

'I am ready to go before FCID'

May 29 (DN) Breaking his silence over the controversy surrounding the Treasury bond issue, Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran said he was ready to go before the Police FCID, or any other law enforcement body, to defend his case. "I have done nothing wrong. Therefore, I am not afraid to go before law enforcement bodies to clear my name. I will cooperate with any investigation. My name has already been cleared by the SC. more..

‘Hike in car sales in SL over past 12 months’

May 29 (Island) ‘Our recent study revealed that 70% of car dealers in Sri Lanka reported an increase in car sales over the past twelve months due to the changing economic climate, while 20% of the car dealers surveyed reported a decrease, Managing Director for Carmudi Sri Lanka Firaz Markar said while briefing the media regarding Carmudi’s recent survey on the automotive industry of Sri Lanka. During the presentation, Markar highlighted that with the evolving new life trends, more..

IIT felicitates Microsoft Imagine Cup winners

May 29 (CT) Winners of this year's Microsoft Imagine Cup (MIC) Sri Lanka finals and attendees of Google Summer of Code (GSoC) from the Informatics Institute of Technology (IIT) were felicitated by the campus on Wednesday, during an event held at the BMICH. IIT had been represented at the MIC by seven teams who won a record-breaking six awards by taking the highest number of awards for a single campus since the competition's inception in 2005, including first place under more..

ADB, Govt sign $ 107 m loan deal for roads

May 29 (FT) The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Govt yesterday signed the $ 107-million second tranche loan agreement of an $800 million multi-tranche financing facility to upgrade roads. “Providing all-weather road access will help link rural communities to socioeconomic centres in Sri Lanka, thereby enabling rural communities to reap and enjoy the fruit of economic growth,” said Sri Widowati, more..

Serene Pavilions dispute settled

May 29 (DN) The long standing dispute of Serene Pavilions Hotel in Wadduwa has come to settlement with the parties concerned withdrawing their cases. The stakeholders have succeeded in reaching a settlement over the hotel's shareholdings issue. With the settlement now, Sumith Guruge holds 30% shares while Jit Warnakulasuriya owns 27% and 38% by British national, Sir Clive Leech and 5% by Indian national Gautham Radia. Meanwhile veteran hotelier & creator of hotel, Anura Lokuhetti, more..

NSB records impressive Q1 profit growth

May 29 (DN) National Savings Bank has recorded a 32% increase in its first quarter Profit Before Tax in 2015, as compared to the same period last year. This is despite a Rs. 1.1 billion one off gain reported during first quarter last year. Therefore, on an organic business as usual basis, growth is most impressive at 137%. Net Interest Income of the Bank increased by 73% to Rs. 6,968 million in first quarter 2015 as compared to Rs. 4,026 million recorded for the first quarter of last year. more..

Can a foreign national lawfully perform CB Governor’s duties?

May 29 (Island) Central Bank is an institution which controls the commanding heights of Sri Lanka’s economy. Governor of the Central Bank is the Chairman of the Monetary Board and CEO of Central Bank. He is, ex-officio, the principal representative of the Bank and the Monetary Board and has the authority to represent Central Bank and Monetary Board in all its relations with other persons, including govt and more..

Rajitha hits out at former Agriculture Minister over Customs Chief

May 29 (FT) Govt yesterday lashed out at former Minister of Agriculture Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, who claimed that former Customs Chief Jagath Wijeweera’s resignation was due to the Glyphosate scandal. Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said that Abeywardena was not the Customs Director General (DG) to make such a claim. “Mahinda Yapa is not the DG of Customs. The former DG has informed us that he would even provide another letter if necessary,” he added. more..

Touchwood liquidation plan before June 22

May 29 (CT) Liquidator of the troubled Touchwood Investments PLC G.K. Sudath Kumar will submit a proposal for the liquidation of the company to the Colombo Commercial High Court shortly. This is a very complex situation and I am currently negotiating with lawyer Sudath Hettiarachchi and a team of Attorneys for a suitable mechanism which will be a win-win situation for all, Sudath Kumar said. This is different to the normal Liquidation, so our lawyers are presently working to submit more..

SL women stymied by archaic job market

May 29 (IPS) Wathsala Marasinghe, a 33-year-old hailing from the town of Mirigama, just 50 km from Colombo, once had high hopes that the progressive education and employment policies of this South Asian island nation would work in her favour. Today, she feels differently, believing that an evil system has let her down. As a young girl, she attended one of the best schools in the area and was selected to attend a state university. more..

Dandeniya accuses top shuttler of fraud

May 29 (DN) Sri Lanka Badminton Association president Suraj Dandeniya has openly accused a top notch shuttler for engaging in a financial fraud. He accuses that this player has obtained Rs. 25 to 30 million from the govt, providing fake information. "These should be a proper investigation initiated on the money he has obtained from the National Olympic Committee and the Sports Ministry," Dandeniya said. The SLBA President made these comments during a press briefing held more..

Jonty in Colombo to train our players

May 29 (Island) South Africa’s fascinating cricketer Jonty Rhodes toured our shores on just three occasions, but yet, he is among the top three most favourite overseas cricketers amongst Sri Lankans; others being Mohammad Azharuddin and Wasim Akram. Earlier this week, Jonty arrived in the island on a coaching stint to help Sri Lanka’s coaches and cricketers to improve fielding, one of the most neglected disciplines in recent times. Jonty is expected to conduct six sessions for more..

'Pictorial warnings, most cost effective way to control tobacco related diseases'

May 29 (IL) Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said "Pictorial warning is the most cost effective means of controlling tobacco related Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs), including cancer “, and that "countries can get return on their investment in multiple areas". Paying tribute to countries including Sri Lanka whom she said "had courage to keep going despite heavy more..

Sri Lankan ports may force Vizhinjam to sail into rough waters

May 29 (ENS) Come June 3, the all-party meet convened by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will take a call on the lone bid secured for the Vizhinjam seaport project, but tough battles await the port once it gets built. China-backed ports in Sri Lanka will pose stiff competition to Vizhinjam, Gajendra Haldea, former principal adviser (infrastructure and PPP), Planning Commission, has warned, even as he endorsed the steps taken by the UDF Govt to attract investors. more..

Institutions for administration of justice are far more important than the military

May 29 (CT) The rape and murder of a 17-year-old schoolgirl two weeks ago, has given rise to the biggest protest seen in North in recent times. Police have announced that 9 persons have been arrested and are been investigated. DNA samples have been taken and sent for examination. Meanwhile, the President of Sri Lanka publicly stated that the case would be tried in a special court to avoid the usual delay and to ensure justice speedily. This promise by the President is quite welcome. more..

Wilpattu crisis: A case of missing the woods for the trees?

May 29 (FT) Kallaru forest reserve adjoining the Wilpattu National Park is bleeding as red soil appears in a swathe of land with no trees, which were mercilessly felled down and taken to unknown destinations by unknown forces. Makeshift huts are dotted in cleared land that runs to over thousands of hectares in Kallaru forest reserve. Empty huts, with no signs of human living, are the remnants to prove an organised approach to set up colonies more..

Bring back the hangman and the whip

May 29 (DN) The latest gruesome rape and murder of this young girl has indeed shocked our nation. This horrible crime MUST be avenged for its own sake and also for the security of our people. Those responsible have no right to live till the end of their days eating and living at our expense in prison serving life terms; believe me “I was the Chairman of a Prison inspection committee, these despicable scoundrels who have been sentenced to death for murder but not been hanged lead a good life more..

Power mapping

May 29 (GV) I was asked to contribute an article to an up-coming issue of The Architect, the journal of the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects. The issue will be anchored to the idea of democratic space. After the guest editor accepted my article without any reservations or edits, he was informed by the Editor in Chief a few weeks ago that references to the Rajapaksa’s were problematic. With some reservations, I agreed to delete these references. A hugely apologetic guest editor informed me more..

'LTTE will not rise again'

May 29 (CT) Deputy Minister of Women's Affairs Vijayakala Maheswaran says that certain people are spreading rumours that she helped the main suspect in Vithya's rape and murder case get released from police custody. "I strongly reject that accusation. The people of Jaffna know that I will never do such a thing," she said in an interview. Q: How is the situation in Jaffna at present. A: There was a tense situation recently. more..

Should agro-chemicals be banned?

May 29 (CT) The term agro-chemical refers to a variety of chemical substances, and includes fertilizers, and pesticides (insecticides, herbicides (weedicides), fungicides, nematicides) etc. They came into widespread use and prominence with the advent of modern agriculture i.e. the green revolution. Media in Sri Lanka (print and electronic) has been agog recently with calls to ban various agro-chemicals. Sadly, those making the biggest noise, appear to be the least informed more..

Buddhist education in Sri Lanka – Analysis

May 29 (EAR) The rich and sophisticated history of Sri Lanka spanning an approximation of two thousand five hundred years owes much of its origins to Buddhism. Though the country’s indigenous history dates back much further, it is commonly and persuasively argued that the ascend to a well organized and spiritually informed life in the island was marked with the introduction of Buddhism in 3rd century B.C.E. During its very lengthy life span in island, Buddhism has successfully more..

3 key officers of RADA to be arrested shortly

May 29 (SO) The Police Special Investigations Unit probing alleged shady transactions of the Reconstruction and Development Agency (RADA) where Rs.124 to Rs.169 million of State assets believed to have been stolen or transferred to the LTTE and other parties, is expected to arrest three key suspects shortly, authoritative sources said. Last week, the SIU was on the verge of arresting MP Tiran Alles more..

Editorial: Needed: Pest control

May 29 (Island) 19th Amendment is now law and the stage is currently being set for the presentation of the 20th Amendment to Parliament to introduce electoral reforms. With time running out for the government which is desperate to seek a popular mandate at a general election to consolidate its power some political observers argue that the fate of the 20th Amendment is in the balance. But, President Maithripala Sirisena, who does not want to antagonise SLFP by dissolving Parliament more..

Reply to Emil van der Poorten’s allegations

May 29 (CT) Reference your undated letter addressed to me with the above title. I have obtained a detailed report from the Director General of the Rubber Development Department on the contents of your above mentioned letter. According to the report provided by the Director General with relevant supporting documents, and the information I have gathered from the officers attended to the aforesaid function, I regret to inform you that the contents of your letter more..