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Sri Lanka: Press ahead on rights reforms

Feb 27 (HRW) Sri Lanka’s new govt should advance a reform agenda to address past and ongoing human rights problems in the country, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to the newly elected president, Maithripala Sirisena. Govt has already undertaken important new initiatives, such as reviewing cases of detainees under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, lifting restrictions on media reporting, ending Internet censorship, more..

Chandra Schafter to retire

Feb 27 (DM) Insurance industry veteran Chandra Schafter is to retire from his position as the Director of Janashakthi Insurance at the company’s forthcoming AGM scheduled for March 31. Schafter, who is widely considered the ‘father of insurance’ in Sri Lanka, counts over 60 years of experience in the industry. He was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award presented at the Asia Insurance Industry Awards in 2012, Asia’s most prestigious awards spanning many countries. more..

'Sri Lanka integrated resort should tap bond markets'

Feb 27 (EN) A large 'casino-related' project has been asked to tap bond markets instead of relying on more bank financing, Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran said. He said a bank had requested for its single borrower limit to be lifted so that it could fund such a resort. "So I said no," Mahendran told a business forum. "It is ridiculous, we have a bond market here. "We have blue chip companies who are going to banks for their funding needs when there is a bond market more..

Ranil, Maithri share sneak preview of way forward with private sector

Feb 27 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, along with President Sirisena, shared with a select and influential group of business leaders what could be described as a sneak preview of the way forward for the country in terms of politics and the economy. “President Sirisena took a great risk when he came over to be the common candidate. We had two options and we knew what 2nd option was if we didn’t win. more..

A national govt Vs A Rajapaksa comeback

Feb 27 (Island) The SLFP dominated and led UPFA met its political Waterloo, about two months back when Mahinda Rajapaksa was defeated in the presidential elections by Maithripala Sirisena from the UNP led NDF. That stark reality that they lost the presidential election has obviously been lost on Mahinda, Dinesh, Wimal, Vasu and Co. That reality was rather obvious to most of the SLFP seniors who fairly quickly realised which side their bread was buttered. more..

WC 2015: Afghanistan beat Scotland

Feb 27 (CI) The handful of Afghanistan supporters who had travelled from around NZ - a couple from Australia, too - had turned one corner of the University Oval into Kandahar. Most of them now settled in the southern hemisphere once lived around the historical city. One among them left Kandahar in 2000 and moved temporarily to Peshawar, in Pakistan, before finally establishing a base in NZ. That was before cricket had taken over as Afghanistan's No. 1 sport from boxing, more..

A walk in Colombo's Somalia

Feb 27 (CT) Weligoda slums, also known as 'Somalia' is just behind the Colombo Harbour in Mattakkuliya, walking distance from Madampitiya Cemetery, where over 3,500 families live congested, more than two families sharing a small shack. CT paid a visit to Colombo's Somalia. "These people live in abject poverty and are not disturbed by all the nefarious activities that take place here. It is a haven for drugs and similar crimes. more..

Missing T’s in Maithri’s Modi meet

Feb 27 (SL) President Maithripala Sirisena’s maiden overseas visit after assuming office to the northern Indian neighbor will be noted more for what was left unsaid in public than said. Official pronouncements and announcements on the visit did not refer to the two T-words’ the Tamil issue and the 13th Amendment. Indian grace in this regard in particular should go a long way in sending out clear signals to the stake-holders in Sri Lanka, where their own venues and avenues for more..

Editorial: Pursuing the hare

Feb 27 (Island) NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa’s wife Sashi has been further remanded over an allegedly forged birth certificate. Wimal has also been summoned to the CID and questioned over an alleged incident of unlawful assembly. If the Weerawansas have been on the wrong side of the law, let them face the consequences of their action. But, the law must apply equally to everyone if the govt is not to be accused of having it enforced selectively to achieve its political objectives more..

Ragging contributes nothing

Feb 27 (NS) Ragging, a social problem, which has increased the risk of suicide in universities, continues to rise. This is due to responsible authorities failing to provide a fitting solution to end this problem. Latest victim of this menace was Amali Chathurika, a 23-year-old student of Sabaragamuwa University. According to the victim’s mother, the daughter committed suicide because she couldn’t bear the inhuman and more..

Mahinda Rajapaksa hopes for comeback

Feb 27 (TD) Supporters of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa have their eyes set on the upcoming parliamentary elections, hoping to bring him back into Sri Lankan politics, a move that could pose a serious challenge to new President Maithripala Sirisena’s agenda for democratic reforms. Rajapaksa, who oversaw a military victory over Tamil Tiger guerrillas six years ago, but at the cost of the lives of more than 70,000 civilians, as the United Nations noted in a report, more..

A new era for India-Sri Lanka relations?

Feb 27 (TD) President Maithripala Sirisena’s recent visit to India was aimed at mending bilateral relations that had deteriorated under his predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa, on account of the latter’s close embrace of China. During Sirisena’s visit, India and Sri Lanka signed four agreements that are expected to strengthen bilateral co-operation. However, whether these can counter effectively China’s enormous presence in the island seems doubtful. India is still a long way from more..

'Projects not meeting CEA standards to be grounded'

Feb 27 (SO) The debate of over prioritising environment conservation and development is chaotic. People in Chunnakam, Jaffna are suffering from the lack of safe drinking water due to ground water contamination. Of late environmentalists are raising questions over environment assessment for Sampur power plant and Uma Oya irrigation development plan. Since the Environment Minister is President Sirisena, more..

Northern expressway draws Malaysian investors

Feb 27 (EN) Malaysian investors are bidding to build an expressway linking Colombo to the northern Jaffna peninsula, a visiting govt official said. “We are bidding for Northern Highway on BOT (build-operate-transfer) basis," declared Dato' Seri S. Samy Vellu, Malaysia’s Special Envoy of Infrastructure for India and South Asia with Ministerial rank attached to the PM’s Office. "We want to do a good job if we get it," a statement quoted him as saying on a visit to Colombo more..

Unity of the ruling political class and the national govt

Feb 27 (GV) The talks of establishing a national govt, among other things, highlight the underlying unity of the ruling class in Sri Lanka. Irrespective of party differences and occasional incidents of politico arrests and then release on bail, the ruling class in Sri Lanka has commonalities in terms of family connections, school friendships, local loyalties and the very political culture that gives sustenance to this class. By very nature, it is elitist and upper middle class. more..

Cry babies should wipe their tears and get back to class

Feb 27 (CT) It’s somewhat comical if not disgraceful to see intelligent, mature and knowledgeable people with grand academic credentials behave in the most puerile manner when lot is expected, especially at a time when the nation is impatiently seeking results in the aftermath of a major socio-economic trial that impacted most Sri Lankans in an adverse manner. It included a gargantuan heist, accomplished with more..

The draft freedom of information law

Feb 27 (CT) Presently the media obtain information by contacting the Heads of Departments or the Secretaries of the Ministries. There is a Cabinet appointed Media spokesman. There is the Establishments Code which lays down restrictions on public officers who disclose information to the media. The Code is restrictive and the question arises how the new Law will affect these provisions in the Establishment Code. There are also the restrictive provisions in Official Secrets Act. more..

New regime should not commit Hara-Kiri

Feb 27 (CT) The majority of the Sri Lankans has contributed to the defeat of Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR), laying the faith on Maithripala Sirisena to usher a revolutionary change in political, social and economic cultures of Sri Lanka. The conspiracy theory of Mahinda Rajapaksa is a ludicrous explanation of his defeat. He dug his own grave by choosing the wrong path of rule while in power, choosing to appease his greed, choosing to adhere to wrong political maneuvers, choosing more..

Video: Probe on Tissa completed: IGP

Feb 26 (AM) Police Chief N.K. Illangakoon said that investigations into allegations against former Minister Tissa Attanayake over the forged documents created during the January Presidential Election has been completed. He said the suspects were arrested and the files had been handed over to the Attorney Generals’ Department for legal action. Investigations were conducted by the CID into four main crimes, including more..

AG gets six more months to decide on KP

Feb 26 (AD) The Court of Appeal granted more time for the Attorney General’s Department to submit a comprehensive report with respect to the Writ Application filed against Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP). The AG informed Justice A.H.M.D. Nawaz and Justice Vijith Malalgoda that the AG department needs more time to examine the cases filed against the accused who was one time LTTE’s arms procurement wing leader and ‘international secretariat’. more..

Iran ready to implement projects in SL

Feb 26 (FNA) Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Morteza Sarmadi announced Tehran's readiness for completion of underway projects as well as inking new contracts and implementing different ventures in Sri Lanka. Sarmadi made the remarks in a meeting with Sri Lankan outgoing Ambassador to Tehran Mohammad Feisal Razin on Wednesday. During the meeting, Sarmadi appreciated the efforts the ambassador made during his tenure to promote bilateral ties, and expressed hope that more..

'Rugby player’s death was not accidental'

Feb 26 (AD) An inquest into the mysterious death of former national rugby player Wasim Thajudeen has been initiated following the emergence of new information with respect to the case in the recent past, SSP Ajith Rohana said. GA’s Department investigation, which moved at snail’s pace due to unknown reasons on this case, was concluded on 12 Feb. CID is now investigating the case upon a directive made by IGP more..

Opposition leader slams Weerawansa

Feb 26 (AM) Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silver yesterday slammed at NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa for stating former President Mahinda Rajapaksa should be the Prime Ministerial Candidate of the UPFA. “The NFF is not even a constituent party of the UPFA. It only contested under the UPFA ticket at some elections,” the Opposition Leader said during a political talk show last night, when asked about Weerawasna’s claims on Prime Ministerial Candidate of UPFA. more..

Germany notes positive changes

Feb 26 (AT) Ambassador Amunugama met State Secretary Markus Ederer at the Federal Foreign Office today (23) to brief him on steps that have been taken by the current Govt to establish good governance, national reconciliation as well as strengthening democratic institutions and rule of law in Sri Lanka. In reply, State Secretary Ederer stated that the positive developments in Sri Lanka were observed keenly by the German Govt. State Secretary Ederer conveyed that his more..

Video: Police deliberately hounding small fries; Rajitha

Feb 26 (DM) Minister Rajitha Senaratna charged the Police was deliberately focusing action against those who had committed minor offences to create disappointment towards the govt. He said the priority should have been given to take action against those who were responsible for large scale corruption and committed major offences. “Wele Suda revealed that a former IGP and an MP were involved in his heroin more..

Storming Bathiudeen’s Office: Six BBS monks noticed

Feb 26 (DM) Six Buddhist monks, who allegedly stormed Minister Rishad Bathiudeen’s office in Colombo 2 during the tenure of the previous govt, have been noticed to be present in Court on March 12. They are alleged to have stormed into the building in search of Ven. Watareka Vijitha Thera. Kollupitiya Police told the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court that they had identified the six Buddhist monks who were involved in the incident and said they had recorded their statements. more..

Ranil asked me to read a book: Rajiva

Feb 26 (AD) Professor Rajiva Wijesinghe says that he was asked by PM Ranil Wickramasinghe to read a book titled ‘Art of the Possible’, when he explained to the latter regarding his concerns and the inability to continue serving as the State Minister for Higher Education. Prof. Wijesinghe, who has openly his displeasure over certain decisions made in the Higher Education Ministry without his consult, has tendered his resignation from the ministerial portfolio in the wake of sacking of UGC Chairperson more..

New leaders demand speedier police action

Feb 26 (AFP) SL's new govt slammed the police for dragging their feet over high-profile cases including the murders of journalists and corruption under the previous regime. Law and Order Minister John Amaratunga demanded concrete action on high-profile cases as he publicly rebuked the head of the police force for failing to investigate the 2009 killing of prominent anti-establishment editor Lasantha Wickrematunga, more..

About 2000 new leprosy cases each year

Feb 26 (Island) Approximately 2,000 new leprosy patients had been reported in the country every year for the last ten years, Anti-Leprosy Campaign Coordinator Dr. Mrs. Kushalya Kasturiarachchi disclosed at a media briefing. Dr. Mrs. Kasturiarachchi said around 41 per cent of leprosy cases had been reported from the Western province, 931 patients up to Nov 2015. The highest number of cases was from the Colombo District, 464 cases reported in 2014, she said. more..

'State sector received historic pay hike'

Feb 26 (CT) State sector employees yesterday received the highest salary increase since Independence, making it a historic day, Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva said. "An average basic salary will be Rs 11,730. An allowance of Rs 25,040 will be added, and an extra Rs 5,000 will amount to Rs 30,000 making up the total income," Dr. de Silva said. He added, govt was also keen on improving the livelihood of the State sector and the steps that the govt has taken to correct more..

Dilshan, Sangakkara sink sloppy Bangladesh

Feb 26 (CI) Sri Lanka have finally made themselves heard, 12 days into the World Cup. Dilshan and Sangakkara did most of the talking through their bats, hammering unbeaten centuries that set up a 92-run win over Bangladesh at the MCG. Bangladesh were bowled out for 240 inside 47 overs after they once again shuffled the batting line-up, leaving Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim with too much to do. more..

Sri Lankan stocks edge up

Feb 26 (EN) Sri Lankan stocks closed marginally higher Thursday buoyed by gains in financial firms in which there was interest, especially Commercial Credit & Finance (COCR) which rose almost eight percent with foreign buying. The benchmark All Share Price Index ended at 7,317.44, gaining 12.83 points (0.2%) while S&P SL 20 index, edged up 3.06 points (0.07%) to close at 4,122.28. Turnover was 1.4 billion rupees with crossings or off-the-floor negotiated deals in more..

NFF wants special prison for white-collar convicts

Feb 26 (DM) National Freedom Front (NFF) today urged the govt to set up a special prison to imprison white-collar criminals convicted of looting and abusing public resources. NFF national organiser Jayantha Samaraweera said despite the Govt claiming it would punish all fraudsters and looters, some well-known fraudsters were still at large. He said new laws must be introduced if the prevailing laws were not sufficient to punish those who had robbed this country. more..

Video: I left SL because of threats from Gota: Ex-SSP Jayakody

Feb 26 (DM) Former Police Media Spokesman Prishantha Jayakody, who arrived from Australia a short while ago, claimed that he fled the country because of threats byformer Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and some of his henchmen. He said he was compelled to leave under political pressure and fears for his life. “I served as Police Media Spokesman and as SSP in Ratnapura but I had to leave more..

Bishops decide to distribute money declined by Pope among dioceses

Feb 26 (Island) Catholic Bishops' Conference has decided to distribute Rs 8.7 mn made available by Pope Francis among 12 Dioceses to meet the needs of the poor. Rev Father Cyril Fernando said that the money would be allocated, depending on the requirements. Asked whether the money would be distributed equally among the 12 Dioceses, Rev. Fernando said that no such decision had been made. On a request by Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith countrywide churches engaged in a major more..

Sports minister urged to order fixing probe involving Indian

Feb 26 (PTI) Sri Lanka's new sports minister Navin Dissanayake has been urged to order a probe into a match-fixing incident involving an Indian player during the Asia Cup tournament held in the country in June 2010. Shammi Silva, a member of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) executive committee, in his letter dated February 20 and addressed to Dissanayake, stated that an Indian player was involved in match-fixing during tournament held in Dambulla. India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh were the more..

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