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'They attempted a coup, but failed'

Jan 27 (DM) Coming in at a time when many changes are set to take place, newly appointed Minister of Justice Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe in an exclusive interview sheds light on some of the more sensitive and topical issues prevalent in the country. Q: What was the situation in the Justice Ministry at the time you took over? What are the main oversights that needed attention? A: Really there was no problem with Ministry of Justice. more..

Democracy without Opposition and the NUA

Jan 27 (DM) In the early hours of 3rd Dec 1998 a meeting was convened at the official residence of late Minister and Leader of SLMC, M.H.M. Ashraff. Among those present at the meeting was Prof. M.T.A. Furkhan, Dr. Rohan Edrisinghe and a few others. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the forming of National Unity Alliance (NUA). Mr. Ashraff explained the purpose of convening the meeting and unfolded his thinking to those present. The initial reaction of those who were present more..

The promised RTI Bill

Jan 27 (DM) In spite of the fact that the introduction of a Right to Information (RTI) Bill is one of the main promises made by President Maithripala Sirisena and the present govt during the just-concluded presidential election campaign, the statements made by the Ministers after the election on the matter might puzzle the masses. Minister Rajitha Senarathne said last week that there will be no more spokespersons for the armed forces as the war has ended long ago. more..

Police file report on Rakna Lanka armoury

Jan 27 (DM) Cinnamon Gardens Police filed a report describing and listing the weapons recovered from the Rakna Lanka Armoury located at BMICH. The report states that on Jan 20 the Police checked the armoury after having obtained a search warrant from Colombo Chief Magistrate. It was carried out in the presence of retired Major General Wijekoon Bandara and several journalists. Police had recovered 151 weapons which included more..

Modi is very Interested in Lanka, says Ranil

Jan 27 (ENS) Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said here on Monday, that Indian PM Narendra Modi is ‘very interested’ in Sri Lanka and the region, and that this augurs well for Sri Lanka which is in the threshold of a new era. Wickremesinghe was speaking at the Indian High Commission reception to mark the 66 th Indian Republic Day. The Lankan PM said Sri Lanka is wanting to go beyond strengthening traditional ties to strengthening economic ties to enter the modern age. more..

UNHCR, EU to help SL Tamils return home

Jan 27 (ENS) UNHCR and the European Union (EU) have undertaken to help the Sri Lankan govt repatriate Lankan Tamil refugees in Tamil Nadu and resettle them in the Island Nation, the Lankan Ministry of Resettlement has said. Assurance of aid was given to Minister for Resettlement, D M Swaminathan, when he met local representatives Gulam Abbas and Igor Ivancic of the UNHCR, and Jaime Royo-Olid and Libuse Soukupova of the EU, here last week, a Ministry statement said. more..

Attanayake says he is in the UNP

Jan 27 (CG) Former UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake says he is still a UNP member as he never resigned from his party membership, nor did he join the SLFP. Attanayake says he backed former President Rajapaksa at the last election as he was not happy in the UNP. “I took the decision (to back Rajapaksa) because of some issues in the party which I faced. In politics we take decisions like that. Some may say it was right more..

CJ not worried on BASL stance: Spokesman

Jan 27 (DM) The Chief Justice will not worry about the statements made by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) and continue to as the Chief Justice, his media spokesman said. Attorney Wijeratne Kodippily who identified himself as Chief Justice Mohan Peiris’ media spokesman told Daily Mirror that he would continue to function as the CJ despite the statements made by the BASL. The BASL has called for the CJ’s resignation on the grounds that by his pre-dawn presence at Temple Trees more..

Akila calls for strict standards

Jan 27 (CT) The previous govt had reduced the pass marks at competitive exams in a bid to show that there is an improvement in academic performance among students during their tenure, Minister of Education, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said. “There were occasions when the pass mark was reduced to 18. They did this to show that more students are passing exams. We want to end this kind of pretensions,” he said. Kariyawasam also said that they will not allow students to sit for more..

'Attack me or my father but not other family members'

Jan 27 (DM) While denying allegation that his mother was involved in a gold racket, MP Namal Rajapaksa said yesterday that if anyone wanted to take revenge politically they should only attack his father or himself and not the other members of his family. “If political revenge is the main objective, attack my father and myself, and stop making false allegations against my mother and brothers,” the former president’s son tweeted. more..

Port City Project before Parliament in February

Jan 27 (CT) The future of the Chinese financed US$ 1.4 billion Colombo Port city project will be submitted to Parliament in February, subject to the feasibility, cost appraisals and other environmental considerations. We are for investments; but we have to see how feasible they are and also the cost and the benefits and the social impact as well, Deputy Minister Eran Wickremaratne said. The project is still at the review stage and the implementation and the going ahead will depend on these criteria, more..

‘Sinharaja encroached by unruly elements’

Jan 27 (DN) The Sinharaja forest with an extent of 30,000 hectares is now reduced to 12,000 hectares according to the latest statistics of the Forest Conservation Department. The forest has been encroached to a large extent by unruly elements, a spokesman for the department said. He added that a large extent of the kitul cultivation inside the forest is a source of income for villagers. The Sinharaja forest was declared a world heritage several decades ago. Meanwhile, the stately home more..

Sri Lanka bank on Sanga-Mahela hit show

Jan 27 (AFP) Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene will join hands for the last time in their brilliant careers to plot Sri Lanka's World Cup campaign, hoping to make amends for two successive heartbreaks. The missing link in the enduring partnership between the two 37-year-olds that started at the turn of the century is the absence of a World Cup triumph despite coming so near. Mahela was captain when Sri Lanka reached more..

Chairman and 3 Directors quit BOC Board

Jan 27 (FT) Chairman Air Chief Marshal Harsha Abeywickrema and three other Directors have resigned from the Board of Bank of Ceylon. Move is to pave the way for new Finance Minister to make suitable appointments following the change of Govt. No replacements have been announced yet. Abeywickrema was appointed BOC Chairman in March last year. Three Directors who also resigned were lawyer Nalini Abeywardene who was reappointed in May 2013 after he first stint more..

UNP leader warns UNP members

Jan 27 (CG) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe today warned that the party will reconsider giving nominations at the next election to UNP members who go against party decisions. He said that while most UNP members had respected the party decision not to take revenge on the opposition following the recent Presidential elections, there are a few who had violated that decision. He was speaking at an event held in Pollonaruwa in celebration of the victory of President more..

What really happened on 8 January night? CaFFE observation report

Jan 27 (FT) It has been now revealed that there was an attempt by the Rajapaksa Govt to prevent the election results being announced on 9 January. Although what really transpired in these fateful hours can only be known with certainty after the relevant mandated and legitimate institutions conduct a proper investigation, Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) would like to present an account of what its staff, observers and more..

Rs. 5,000 wage hike may be extended to private sector

Jan 27 (ST) A wage hike of Rs. 5,000 per month to public sector employees to be announced in interim budget may also be extended to private sector workers. Treasury officials said that the govt would most likely request the private sector to also implement the proposal when it is presented in Parliament. While the 3-month budget would represent a quarter of the Rs.1.654 trillion-worth 2015 budget presented by the last govt, a new cost is the additional sum of Rs. 60 billion for more..

Ministry of Commerce oversees 32 institutions, carries out 12 main duties

Jan 27 (Island) According to the Gazette extraordinary dated January 18, the Ministry of Industries and Commerce is assigned to carry out 12 main duties and functions covering a total of 32 institutions. The main duties of the ministry related to each of these institutions include; formulation of policies, programmes and projects, export promotion, international trade relations/ trade fairs, formulation of competition policy, promotion and development of industries etc. more..

'Govt has given priority to rule of law'

Jan 27 (DN) Govt has undertaken the important task of ensuring the rule of law in the country and peace and harmony among different communities by appointing Ministers for Religious Affairs who believe in their particular religion, Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith said. He was addressing a ceremony marking the beginning of work of the Minister of Public Security, Christian Religious Affairs and Disaster Management John Amaratunga more..

Ramanayake to replace Vaas

Jan 27 (ST) SLC fast bowling Coach Champaka Ramanayake is to replace the National fast bowling Coach Chaminda Vaas with immediate effect. The recent bowling slump in the Lankan national squad has pushed the cricket hierarchy to seek the executive nod on a priority basis and have requested Ramanayake to be packed and ready. The problem cropped even late last year when SLC Chief Executive Ashley de Silva had informed an emergency executive committee meeting that more..

Air China to launch Chengdu-Colombo flight

Jan 27 (GDI) Air China, one of the China's leading carriers, is scheduled to start direct service between Chengdu, capital city of southwest China's Sichuan province, and Colombo in February. The flights will operate from Chengdu, a major air hub in southwest China linking 187 cities including 78 international routes. An Airbus A330 will fly the Chengdu-Colombo route each Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday & Sunday. Journey between Chengdu and Colombo will take about five-and-a-half hours, more..

Employers caution govt over ad-hoc, arbitrary pay hike moves

Jan 27 (FT) The Employers Federation of Ceylon (EFC) has cautioned the new Govt over the dangers of ad-hoc or arbitrary moves to hike pay in the private sector as well a proposal to introduce a new cost of living index value and making employees permanent. The concerns have been conveyed to President Maithripala Sirisena, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, Justice and Labour Relations Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, more..

Top German office products brand Durable arrives in Sri Lanka

Jan 27 (CT) Durable, the leading European office products brand and the inventor of the time-honoured Duraclip has entered the Sri Lankan market in partnership with Thef:;llstop, the country's foremost supplier of branded stationery. A heritage brand whose origins date back to 1920, Durable patented the Duraclip folder in 1959 as a solution for filing documents without punching holes in them, and has since grown into a global brand for innovative filing, mounting, storage and more..

Budget Taxi at loggerheads with other operators

Jan 27 (CT) Budget Taxi is adamant not to reduce the price per kilometre from the present Rs 32. All Island Trishaw Drivers Union, President, who is also the owner of Budget Taxi, Lalith Dharmasekara said that they will under no circumstance reduce their rate from the present level in spite of the govt bringing down the fuel prices recently. However, other trishaw operating companies, said that they were contemplating a revision of the price with the new fuel price in effect now. more..

India seeking mutual benefit through strengthening of Indo-Lanka FTA

Jan 27 (Island) India says it is looking to strengthen the Indo-Lanka Free Trade Agreement in a manner that would be mutually beneficial to both countries. The Consul General of India in Jaffna, A. Natarajan who was the Chief Guest at the opening ceremony of the  sixth edition of the Jaffna International Trade Fair (JITF) held at the Jaffna Library on Friday said that with an ever increasing number of  Indian companies doing business more..

Gallant youth dives in and saves two of three

Jan 27 (CT) A 67-years-old woman of Vadamarachchi, Jaffna died in a most tragic manner. In a bid to save her grandson who had accidently fallen into a well in their garden, she unhesitatingly had jumped in to save the child. The boy's sister too had jumped into the well seeing her grandmother do so, she followed suit in order to save both her grandmother's and brother's lives. All three of them got into difficulty in the end, but luckily they were spotted by a brave youngster of more..

Is 50:50 formula still valid?

Jan 27 (Island) As I mentioned in a previous note, it is imperative to reread and revise 100 days program of President Maithripala Sirisena reflecting the aspirations and hopes as they were expressed by the people at the election. Of course, different peoples have had different expectations and hopes. At least their priorities may be different. The interests of the urban middle class might have been democracy and good governance. Almost all might have been despised bribery and corruption. more..

‘Rajapaksa regime merely continued with infrastructure projects identified by ...’

Jan 27 (Island) Dr. Harsha de Silva, Deputy Minister of Policy Planning and Economic Development said the Rajapaksa govt continued with the infrastructure projects identified for implementation by the previous Ranil Wickremesinghe govt. He said that even the Greater Colombo Metropolitan Project is a component of the UNP govt’s Western Province Mega polis plan. He stressed that problem was the inflated costs that led to massive corruption more..

Teamwork and measured approach to meet challenge of 100-day programme

Jan 27 (Island) The govt is proceeding with its 100 Day programme that President Maithripala Sirisena presented as part of his election manifesto. This plan promised a national govt and new cabinet with UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as its PM after presidential election. It also contained a promise to change from a presidential to a parliamentary system, to repeal the 18th Amendment, to come up with a 19th Amendment to the Constitution, restoring independent commissions, more..

Good governance vital for healthy sustained economic development

Jan 27 (ST) Good governance was the core promise of President Maithripala Sirisena. Good governance is an end in itself. It is vital for democracy, decency and dignity of human society and encompasses a whole range of social, political and economic activities. Good governance is crucial for economic efficiency and sustained healthy economic development. President Obama once said that what Africa required was not strong men but strong institutions and good governance. more..

'Past govts has not expelled Director Generals'

Jan 26 (SL) The Commission to Investigate Bribery or Corruption is now receiving many complaints about corruptions and briberies that the politicians, officials and others related to the former govt committed during their time of sunshine. The Sunday Leader talked to the Director General of the Commission Ganesh R Dharmawardena about the new govt’s proposal of bringing back the 17th Amendment, giving more..

Regime change and power sharing

Jan 26 (NS) Recent regime change in Colombo, did not take place in vacuum. There was international support and networks to depose the former regime led by Mr. Rajapaksa who provided political leadership to defeat LTTE and local political actors contributed to the scheme planned by powerful actors. One of the key developments with regard to deposing regime apparently staged in Singapore. As TamilNet correctly pointed, there was agenda and that was coined as 10 points formula. more..

Constitutional changes through Urgent Bill

Jan 26 (NS) On Jan 8, 2015 Sri Lankan voters voted for a President to lead the nation. The election that was to vote a President ended up with a Prime Minister being sworn in followed by close to 50 MPs majority belonging to the UNP while the rest composed of MPs that crossed over from the previous government and those that were part of the common alliance. With the next election being the general where all MPs will need to go before the people including the PM, there appears to be more..

'Is this good governance or vengeance?'

Jan 26 (SL) There are many allegations of corruption and misgovernance against the previous regime and many of the former officials are currently under scrutiny. However there is also speculation that certain members of the previous regime are deliberately targeted by the present govt in a bid to discredit their contribution and achievements. Former Minister Keheliya Rambukwella stated that it is not fair more..

Editorial: Sad days not over!

Jan 27 (Island) The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) continues to fire broadsides at Chief Justice Mohan Peiris on a regular basis obviously in a bid to see the back of him. That has apparently become its raison d’etre. A group of protesters including lawyers recently staged a protest near the Supreme Court, calling for the CJ’s resignation. Strangely, in a country where ordinary citizens are fined or even thrown behind bars for minor offences such as yakking into mobile phones or smoking within more..

With Maithri, Ranil & Mangala – Real change should occur for Tamils too

Jan 27 (CT) I would like to offer my congratulations to President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and External Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera and Co and wish them the very best towards restoring this island paradise, with a rich heritage, now known as Sri Lanka, to its original glory, where all its inhabitants, living there since pre-historic times and having their distinct traditional homelands in the island, are treated with equality, their distinct socio, political, cultural, more..