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'If Ranil leaves, the SLFP will step in and continue'

Mar 30 (Island) PM Rajiva Wijesinha is no stranger to controversy. A State Minister in the yahapalana government that took office in January, he was the first to cross the floor and rejoin the opposition. Though he has fallen out with what he describes as a UNP government, he remains combatively loyal to president Maithripala Sirisena. In this interview, Rajiva speaks to C.A. Chandraprema about the difference between RW and MS. more..

Port City Project: Investor’s interest cannot supersede Sri Lanka’s national interest

Mar 30 (CT) The Port City Project has been the subject of a great deal of discussion in the media in the past several weeks. The discussion has primarily centred round the issues of whether the proper procedures and approvals have been followed as well as the impact on the environment which is likely to result from this massive project. Absent from the discussion has been the more fundamental issue of whether this Port City is something that the country needs. more..

Editorial: What’s up MR’s sleeve?

Mar 30 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, while he was ensconced in power, thought his predecessor Chandrika Kumaratunga would dree her weird in retirement without troubling him. He did not know her. She bode her time and made a stunning comeback by engineering his downfall. He did now know what hit him! President Maithiripala Sirisena, having defeated Rajapaksa in January thought the latter would resign himself to his fate. He, too, thought wrong. more..

'A dangerous deviation'

Mar 30 (NS) Dr Dayan Jayatilleka who is an expert in many fields expressed his ideas regarding the present political developments in the country. He did not agree with the formation of a National Govt, suspending the normal competitive functioning of the two-party system. He considers this move as a dangerous deviation and said that Sri Lanka doesn’t have such a requirement. He also questioned why the SLFP bothers to assist more..

Behold, bemoan the mirage of change

Mar 30 (ST) A nation’s outrage burst in full flow last Sunday evening when President Sirisena thought fit to induct 26 members of the SLFP as Ministers, State Ministers and Deputy Ministers of his govt, rolling out the red carpet of welcome to a questionable coterie of the Rajapaksa regime the people held in opprobrium and had voted never to see returned to power again. It was not so much that Maithripala had flouted one pre-election promise not to increase the Cabinet to more..

Giving ear to the public roar in January 2015

Mar 30 (ST) Admitting that the passionate yahapalanaya breast-beating of the Maithri campaign in the run-up to the presidential poll was nothing more than an election slogan has become inevitable in the wake of the recent formation of a so-called national govt. What else is one to say when one-time Rajapaksa loyalists of exceeding ill fame are welcomed into a grotesquely swollen Cabinet as UNP Ministers turn all shades of quite unbecoming purple trying to justify these more..

'All those accused are now in the govt'

Mar 30 (SL) While allegations and concerns had been raised against several members of the former Govt, those very people are now in the Govt of President Sirisena. The NFF accused the govt of being not interested in bringing any of the culprits to book, but charged that they just used all these issues including corruption and drug importers as a means to get rid of Mahinda Rajapaksa. NFF spokesman Mohammed Muzammil said that more..

National leaders, new and old

Mar 30 (SL) Pro-LTTE, pro-separatist websites could not have done a greater disservice to the larger Tamil cause just now than projecting Northern Province Chief Minister Justice C V Wigneswaran as our new national leader. It may in a way be a greater disservice to Justice Wigneswaran, too, who may not share their present views about him, and mostly definitely, their cause for a separate Tamil State. Despite being suave and gentlemanly, Wigneswaran has always been straight and more..

Citizens as stakeholders in governance

Mar 30 (SL) In history there occasionally arises a great opportunity to make life better for humankind; if such an opportunity is ignored, it can never be recaptured, as there can be no rewinding of time. Such a lost opportunity will continue to cloud our future for a long time to come. We see this phenomenon in the current political situation. Though the current situation may appear to be political turmoil and chaos, proper management by politicians and relevant parties has the ability more..

MiG 27 deal crash lands

Mar 30 (SO) The govt is to launch an international probe to verify the whereabouts of the island's former envoy to Russia, Udayanga Weeratunga, who is now reported missing, while a special inquiry is already underway to ascertain the financial loss caused to the State by the purchasing of four MIG aircraft in 2006. While the former ambassador whose involvement in a highly questionable sale of 4 Ukraine-built MIG 27 more..

100-Day Program: A second commentary

Mar 30 (Island) A commentary by the Citizens’ Movement for Good Governance (CIMOGG) regarding the 100-day Program of the govt was published in the SUNDAY ISLAND of March 8. The key points made there were: 1) No bill, other than one concerned with dealing with a national emergency, should be presented to Parliament on an urgent basis because such a procedure would not allow sufficient time for stakeholders and other members of the public to consider and more..

Inside story of how Maithri defeated Mahinda

Mar 30 (CT) Review of Revolution of the Era: The Inside story of how Maithri Defeated Mahinda by Asoka Abeygunarwardana. I have never voted in an election despite the fact that it was my right and my franchise to do so. I refrained because I was not entirely convinced of the truthfulness of modern representative democracy when the word Demokratia (demos / kratos) meaning “people’s power” and direct democracy said that any citizen of a nation or community or group who wished more..

Sri Lanka pledges political solution in war-torn north

Mar 29 (AFP) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has pledged a political solution for the island's war-torn north, where ethnic minority Tamils have long demanded greater autonomy. During a two-day visit to the Tamil heartland of Jaffna, Wickremesinghe also repeated his govt's promise of national reconciliation six years after the island's ethnic war ended. "If you want a stable and secure country, we must have a political solution more..

UN Special Rapporteur arrives today on a six-day visit

Mar 29 (AD) UN Special Rapporteur on Truth, Justice, Reparations, and Guarantees of Non-recurrence, Pablo de Greiff, will arrive in Sri Lanka for a six-day visit, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said. “Greiff will arrive in Sri Lanka today. He plans to meet with senior officials of the Govt and political parties. He looks forward to discussing with Sri Lankan leaders on various issues of mutual concerns,” the Ministry sources said. Earlier, Minister Mangala Samaraweera addressing more..

3 Russian naval ships at port of Colombo

Mar 29 (SLN) Three Russian ships Admiral Panteleev, Pechenga and SB-522, arrived at the port of Colombo on 28th March 2015 for replenishment and relaxation of their crews. Admiral Panteleev is an anti-submarine ship commanded by Captain 1st Rank Aleksey V. Antsiferov. Pechenga is a replenishment vessel while SB–522 is a salvage tug. The ships, belonging to the Pacific Fleet of the Russian Navy were ceremonially welcomed by the SL Navy in accordance with naval traditions more..

Sirisena is a conspirer: Anura K

Mar 29 (CT) JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake charges President Maithripala Sirisena is a conspirer who is plotting to prevent the smooth passage of the 19th amendment despite the promises made. Speaking at an event organized by the People’s Movement for Democracy, Dissanayake recalls the main slogans that were deployed during the past elections that have resulted in major regime changes. more..

CAA seek public support to round up gang extorting money

Mar 29 (GDI) It has come to light that an organized gang was extorting money from traders claiming that they are sleuths of the Consumer Affairs Authority. It solicits public support to round up such persons. Complaints have been received that this organized gang is reported to be terrorizing traders and extorting money. Chairman of the Consumer Affairs Authority Rumy Marzook said that complaints had been made from Colombo, Gampaha, Ratnapura, Kurunegala and Matara. more..

President Sirisena requests Swedish assistance for irrigation development

Mar 29 (AM) President Maithripala Sirisena requested Swedish assistance to develop the irrigation sector when he met PM of Sweden Stefan Löfven during the bilateral discussions on Saturday on the sidelines of Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2015, in Boao, Hainan Province, China. PM Löfven congratulated President Sirisena on his presidential election victory and said that he and the Swedish govt are pleased to see the positive development in post-election Sri Lanka. more..

120 Lankans stranded in Yemen

Mar 29 (CT) Govt said it was keeping a close watch on the 120 Sri Lankans stranded in Yemen as the Saudi Arabia-led coalition intensified airstrikes on Shia Houthi rebels who are advancing on the capital Sana'a. Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera said the govt had contacted the UN and the Indian High Commission in Yemen asking they secure the safety of Sri Lankans because SL does not have a representative presence there. more..

Water Hyacinth taking over Nuwara Wewa

Mar 29 (ST) Following the recent heavy rains in the Anuradhapura district, a carpet of Water Hyacinth (Japan Jabara) has spread to over 50 acres of the Nuwara Wewa. Residents say the fast-growing plant is likely to cover over half the tank by the end of the year unless urgent remedial measures are taken immediately. The plant was borne into the wewa/tank via waters from smaller tanks which spilled over during the rains last year and has taken only around four months to cover over more..

Over 2,000 children in refugee camps

Mar 29 (SL) Ministry of Resettlement, Reconstruction and Hindu Religious Affairs says that about 22,000 children have been born to date to about 100,000 Sri Lankan refugee families in India who fled the country during the war. The very first member of these families who fled the country was reportedly dead and only their children live at Indian refugee camps. A high number of people living in the North and East are now living at refugee camps located in 26 districts in Chennai. more..

Free Wifi access from tomorrow

Mar 29 (DM) Lankan citizens will be able to enjoy free Wifi internet access at selected 26 public locations from tomorrow, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Telecommunications and IT said. Information Communication & Technology Agency said it would expand the services to 1000 public spaces across the island by the end of August. Foreign Affairs Media Secretary said they have not established any restrictions on free Wifi service. more..

Aquinas, Australia Catholic Uni. sign MoU for degree in teaching

Mar 29 (ST) Aquinas University College, a premier Catholic higher education institute in Sri Lanka, which had received Degree-awarding status from the UGC, had entered into a historic Academic Partnership with world renowned Australian Catholic University (ACU) in Feb 2014, now launches its first Degree programme- Bachelor of Arts in Teaching (BAT). Accordingly, Rector of Aquinas, Rev Fr (Dr) Placidus De Silva signed an MoU at a ceremony held in Sydney, Australia, more..

Prasanna Ranatunga lashes out at those who betrayed SLFP

Mar 29 (AM) Western Province Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunga lashed out at SLFP members who had accepted ministerial portfolios in the govt, adding that they have betrayed the party. Ranatunga said that he entered the fight to make former president Mahinda Rajapaksa the SLFP Prime Ministerial candidate, prepared to give up his Chief Ministerial post if needed. In contrast, some SLFP leaders are betraying the party by accepting positions in the govt, he added. more..

UK girl finds her SL family after 18 years

Mar 29 (Mirror) Growing up, Poppy Royal’s life was happy and secure. Her parents Cliff, now 68, and Jenny, 58, had adopted her at five weeks old, and never kept a secret of where she actually came from – Sri Lanka. "Mum and Dad adopted me and another Sri Lankan child, Joshua," says Poppy. But growing up in a comfortable home in Oxfordshire was a world away from the life of her birth family, who toiled on tea plantations more..

Kuwait Airways to fly daily from Colombo

Mar 29 (Island) Kuwait airways announced daily operations effective March 31, 2015 with the expansion of new destinations and daily connections to certain destination such as New York, London and the main European hubs Frankfurt, Paris, Rome and Geneva. Passengers travelling to Amman, Medina will have special benefits included as well.  The new destinations which would be added in July are Munich, Vienna  and Istanbul, the airline said in a statement. more..

Karaliyedda on the fence

Mar 29 (DM) Newly appointed Deputy Minister of Buddha Sasana and Democratic Governance, Tissa Karaliyedda today said his assuming duties on his post is yet to be decided. Giving reasons for his sudden decision, he said his supporters had expressed their disappointment and opposition over his acceptance of the minister post offered by the new govt. “We never expected that we would be given minister posts in such ministries and subjects by the central committee of SLFP. more..

Majestic Australia win fifth World Cup

Mar 29 (CI) It had been the World Cup of short balls. On a flat MCG deck, it had seemed bounce would be the bowlers' major ally. But so cocksure were Australia's pace phalanx of their quality, they left nothing to the vagaries of the surface, firing balls full, fast and straight to deliver Australia a seven-wicket win and its fifth World Cup in comprehensive fashion. Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson shared five wickets, having more..

Eight arrested for producing defamatory film on SL Army

Mar 29 (DM) Eight persons including a lawyer were taken into custody by the Borella police under suspicion of producing a defamatory documentary on Sri Lanka Army at a house in Narahenpita. Five individuals among the arrested are residents of Jaffna. Investigations have revealed that two of the suspects had migrated to India. After shooting the film in India the suspects had brought it to Sri Lanka for dubbing. Police said the documentary contained scenes portraying the Sri Lanka Army as more..

Brother says ex DIG Vaas arrested under false allegations

Mar 29 (Island) Former DIG Vass Gunawardena’s brother Kulendra De Vass Gunawardena, living in the UK, is requesting from the present govt to bring justice to his brother. Mr. K De Vass further stressed his brother, former DIG Vass Gunawardena, was arrested on the 8th of June 2013 with false allegations due to revealing corruption conducted by the previous govt. The former DIG was one of the key front line officers who worked hard to dismantle the terror group the LTTE. more..

Mihin Lanka flight returns

Mar 29 (DM) A Mihin Lanka flight landed safely at BIA upon being forced to return when pilots detected a technical problem en route to Dhaka, Bangladesh today. The Mihin Lanka flight MRL501 along with 159 passengers and 7 flight crew had departed BIA at 9.30 am though it was scheduled to take off at 7.25 am. After takeoff, the pilots had detected a defect in the technological system and decided to return to the BIA. more..

Flu no cause for panic: Chief epidemiologist

Mar 29 (Island) "There is no need to panic unnecessarily over influenza as influenza transmitted by birds and animals is not recorded here," asserts Chief Epidemiologist, Dr. Paba Palihawadana, saying regular testing had been carried out since 2006 on both human and animal samples but none had been positive. While human samples had been tested at the Medical Research Institute (MRI), animals and bird samples had been tested at Veterinary Research Institute (VRI) more..

Mahinda sees threats to his life

Mar 29 (CG) Former President Rajapaksa has expressed fears for his life and has said the Govt will need to be responsible if something happens to him. Rohan Welivita, Media Coordinator of the former President said that even though the govt provides security for the former President when he engages in social activities, the security is not enough. At present six security vehicles have been provided to the former President for his security convoy, but the media coordinator says more..

Interview with the Elections Commissioner

Mar 29 (Island) I had tried several times to meet him. He too, in all fairness, made a valiant effort to make time for me. It had been almost a month since we set out to meet. Finally the day had come. I arrived 15 minutes early at his office on a public holiday. Shown into his room, my attention was drawn to the huge map mounted on a wall below the pictures of his predecessors. Seated at his desk, the man most called Maco – short for more..

Senior medical administrators want Health Secretary replaced

Mar 29 (Island) A section of senior medical administrators have sought a meeting with the President and PM to discuss the possibility of replacing the incumbent Health Secretary, an SLAS officer, with a medical administrator. Health Ministry sources said that one of the key reasons behind the move to call for him to be replaced is the lack of support shown by him towards monitoring and supervising transfers approved by the Transfer Board & Public Service Commission (PSC). more..

Pakistan expresses grief over death of President’s brother

Mar 29 (AD) The Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan at Colombo, Dr. Sarfraz Sipra has expressed his deep shock, heartfelt condolences and sympathies on behalf of the people and the Govt of Pakistan on tragic demise of Priyantha Sirisena, the youngest brother of President Maithripala Sirisena. “Talking on telephone to the family members of the deceased this morning, Dr. Sipra conveyed heartfelt condolences and deep shock and grief on the very tragic loss of more..