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Electoral Reforms: Where are the women?

May 23 (SO) As the discussions and debates around the 20th Amendment and electoral reforms intensify, it is disappointing to note that there is no conversation flagging the abysmally low representation of women in Parliament (5.8% at present), nor any political will to introduce special measures to increase the number of women Parliamentarians. Despite promises in the manifesto of President Sirisena to bring in more..

Jaya needed for Tamils, TNA & Modi

May 23 (CT) Jayalalithaa’s long drawn out corruption case ended with a seemingly unexpected but heartening verdict for her. As the expected did not happen, her political enemies have ganged up in a rare unity demanding appeal to dethrone her. The anti-Jaya parties are pretty well aware of her massive popularity in Tamil Nadu. Jayalalithaa’s bold and charismatic leadership, which are all, lacking among the leaders of opposition parties. DMK Chief Karunanidhi who is a tainted more..

Contours of a new Sri Lanka

May 23 (CT) I thank all of you for so graciously hosting me here today at the prestigious German Council on Foreign Relations. I have heard so much about your work as the premier network for foreign policy in Germany for well over 60 years. To be here at your institute on my first official visit to your great country as Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, is indeed an honour, and I have been overwhelmed by the warmth with which I have been received by everyone since my arrival on Wednesday. more..

Video: Committee to probe fraud and corruption in Ports Authority

May 23 (DM) Ports, Shipping and Aviation Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said today the ministry had decided to appoint a committee headed by President's Counsel, Nalin Ladduwahetty to probe fraud and corruption in the Ports Authority. He said the committee would look into whether any fraud or corruption had occurred in purchasing machinery and other equipment such as cranes and fork lifts and would submit a full report in 3 months. more..

903 foreign nationals nabbed for violating visa requirements

May 23 (DM) As many as 903 foreign nationals were arrested last year in connection with their engagement in religious propaganda activities, employment and business after arrival in the country on tourist visa, Parliament was informed today. These persons were from countries such as Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, China, the United States of America, Britain, Canada , France, Germany, Egypt, France, Norway, Netherlands, Philippines, and Saudi Arabia. more..

City wide blackout averted with alternative arrangement

May 22 (Island) CEB engineers Wednesday evening managed to overcome an unusual technical problem in a transformer, a top official said. CEB Chairman, Anura Wijepala said that they were worried that the transformer would explode due to excessive heat. He added that such incidents were extremely rare but since they didn’t have spare transformers it was cause for grave concern and if the unforeseen had happened vital areas of Colombo would have been without power. more..

Post-war systemic breakdown blamed for Jaffna rape and mayhem

May 22 (ENS) Dr. Daya Somasundaram, Professor of Psychiatry at Jaffna University, blames the breakdown of traditional social and administrative structures for the gang rape and murder of 18 year old school girl, S. Vithya, at Pungudithivu on May 13, and the mayhem that engulfed Northern Province subsequently. Mobs burnt tyres on the streets, stoned the court and the police station, ordered hartals, and called for more..

Pakistan Sri Lanka friendship has centuries old civilizational roots: Pak Envoy

May 22 (PHC) A group of 19 Cadets of the Sri Lankan National Cadet Corps hailing from all over the Island will be visiting Pakistan from 24 to 31 May 2015 on a bilateral exchange visit. The group will be headed by Major General Raja Guru and will also include 3 officers of the Sri Lankan Army. The delegation called on the High Commissioner of Pakistan in Sri Lanka Major General (R) Syed Shakeel Hussain at the High Commission of Pakistan today. more..

President instructs continue Colombo beautification

May 22 (GDI) President Sirisena instructed the officials to implement the beautification and maintaining process in the Colombo city and other urban areas without any backdrop. He stressed that it is compulsory to continue the concept of clean Colombo. President gave the advices when he met the relevant officers who are responsible for the programme at president's office yesterday. President added that if the relevant stakeholders live up-to their duties no issue would arise. more..

Video: 'No evidence to prove my guilt'

May 22 (DM) MP Dunmida Silva said today said there was no evidence to convict him of the murder of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra. Speaking at the end of the court hearing today, Mr. Silva said there were allegations against him but no evidence to support it. “This is a media circus and certain parties want to move the case forward. I know I am not guilty. The 19th Amendment was passed in parliament and more..

Rape incident turns into a political row

May 23 (Hindu) A recent incident of rape and murder of an 18-year-old school girl in Pungudutivu of the Northern Province, which triggered violence on Wednesday in Jaffna, has now turned into a full-fledged political row among various parties. The girl, who went missing on May 13, was found dead a day later. Nine persons have been arrested so far. On Wednesday, barring one, all others were produced before a court in Jaffna; people who had gathered in the court complex went on rampage. more..

MSD woman constable collapses and dies while running

May 22 (Island) A woman police constable attached to the Ministerial Security Division who collapsed during the morning five kilometre run with her colleagues on Wednesday died at the National Hospital later in the day. Victim Dharshani Kumari (26) a resident of Ekiriya, Hanguranketha had collapsed just about 100 metres from the finish line at Malay Street. She had been covering the distance during regular fitness sessions; he said, adding that she was a good sportswoman. more..

Sri Lanka's Samaraweera meets Germany's Steinmeier

May 22 (IL) Foreign Minister met his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, yesterday at the German Foreign office in Berlin. German Foreign Minister warmly welcomed Samaraweera, hailing him as one of the Architects of Change in Sri Lanka. Steinmeier acclaimed the political developments in Sri Lanka in the recent months and also mentioned that Germany was impressed by the high voter turnout in the presidential elections more..

Govt calls for vigilance over conspiracies

May 22 (MoD) Govt requests the people to be vigilant about campaigns carried out by certain political and extremist elements to mislead the Southern people, using media reports and video clippings of recent LTTE commemorative events held in some countries including south India and over the kidnapping, rape and killing of a 18-year-old schoolgirl in Kayts, Jaffna. State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardena totally refuted the allegation made by the former President Rajapaksa and more..

2014 Gratiaen Prize Shortlist Announced

May 22 (Island) Celebrating 22 years of recognizing and awarding the best work in English by resident Sri Lankan writers the Gratiaen Prize, awarded in affiliation with Standard Chartered Bank Sri Lanka, opened awards season with the shortlist announcement which was held yesterday (11) at the British Council. The winner will be announced on 12th June Friday, at the main prize event to be held at Park Street Mews Colombo. The five works of literature selected by the judges, more..

'UNP boss at controversial Treasury bond auction'

May 22 (EN) Chairman of UNP was at a controversial Treasury bond auction where insider fraud is alleged, opposition leader Nimal Siriapala de Silva charged in parliament. A report by a three-member committee that probed the bond sale, where the initial offer was raised 10 times and half the volume given to a firm linked to the son-in-law of Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran found no direct involvement by him in the award. more..

I won’t influence any entrepreneur but will support their development: President

May 22 (GDI) President Maithripala Sirisena says he would not try to unduly influence any business or entrepreneur in the way some previous politicians of the Government did, but will give support for the development of business. “We expect only the tax and other payments due to the govt from the entrepreneurs after they become successful in their business. I do not want any benefit or remuneration from them,” he said. The President was speaking at the opening of 10th SL Hotel Exhibition more..

'Most hospital administrators want their institutions taken over by govt'

May 22 (Island) Most hospital administrators wanted their institutions to be taken over by the government, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. But, he did not discriminate between hospitals run by provincial councils and those under the government, he said recently at the foundation stone laying ceremony for a Maternity Clinic at the Alutgama Rural Hospital. The project is funded by Korean firm Myeomg Dong Asia (Pvt) Ltd. Minister said he had no intention to take over any hospital. more..

Shangri-La launches luxury apartments and office complex project in Colombo

May 22 (LBO) Hong Kong based Shangri La Hotels and Resorts, launches US$ 500 million of exclusive residences, office and retail project in Galle Face, Colombo targeting at foreign investors, expatriates and an expanding class of influential Sri Lankans. The residences component will have 406 apartments consists of two, three and four bedroom units. Additionally, it will contain 16 penthouses, more..

Govt assures law and order after protest

May 23 (CG) The Govt says it has taken all measures to maintain law and order and that there would not be any room for unruly elements to create any sort of disturbances in the country. Minister of Justice Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said that unruly protests will not be allowed in the North or any other part of the country over the kidnapping, rape and killing of an 18-year-old schoolgirl in Kayts, Jaffna. He pointed out that 130 suspects were arrested for pelting stones at more..

50 elephants kept sans permits

May 22 (CT) Deputy Minister of Tourism and Sports Wasantha Senanayaka told Parliament yesterday that the ministry had instructed officials to locate 50 elephants who, according to initial information, are being privately kept without permits. Of them, ten cases have been handed over to the CID for investigation, the minister said. He said that eight elephants with permits and three elephants without permits were taken into custody after the last presidential election. more..

Senior Police officers of Jaffna District transferred

May 22 (AD) The IGP has ordered the transfer of the OIC of the Jaffna Division SSP SSP Lakshman Weerasekara and the HQI of Kayts CI Q.R. Perera and HQI of Jaffna CI B.M.R.K.B. Balasooriya with immediate effect. Accordingly the SSP of Jaffna Division has been transferred as the OIC of Seethawakapura Division. The OIC of the Seethawakapura Division SSP W.K. Jayalath has been transferred as OIC of Jaffna Division. more..

Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena slams Ajith P. Perera's comments

May 22 (AM) Former Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena asked if the politicians of UNP do not work with elections in mind. Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera’s stated that the four resigned SLFP members did so with the forthcoming election in mind. In response, Abeywardena asked if the UNP politicians had other objectives in mind. If not elections, perhaps the UNP had other deals in mind, Abeywardena said. Central Bank Treasury bond issue was one such deal, he claimed. more..

Jaffna demonstrations: Creating a Kashmir?

May 22 (CT) Were the scenes we saw on our TV screens this week a manifestation of a potentially dangerous, post-January 8th radicalization in the North? It is perfectly natural for demonstrations to be held when a crime as heinous as the rape and murder of a schoolgirl takes place. It is natural that such demonstrations be emotional. It would also be natural for those demonstrations to take a violent turn if the suspected perpetrators of the crime were from the armed forces or Police or more..

Video: Vasu a dried pumpkin: Ranil

May 22 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe today hit back at UPFA MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara saying he is a dried pumpkin who had lost the prime of his life. A heated argument ensued between the MP and the Prime Minister in the parliament yesterday with Mr. Nanayakkara reportedly using obscenities against the Prime Minister. “He is a dried pumpkin. This is how defeated people behave,” the PM said more..

Jaffna regains its soul

May 22 (CT) Police denied 'mob justice' to the people of Jaffna, when they were prevented from storming the Jaffna Courts on Wednesday, in an attempt to forcibly take away eight suspects, charged with the rape and murder of an 18-year-old schoolgirl from Punkuduthivu, whose body was found in the area, eight days ago on 14 May. Such crimes may not be all that uncommon in the South. The suspects are all Tamils and are not from either the security forces or from the Police. more..

Stocks surge on positive earnings reports

May 22 (LBO) Stocks rose 15.04 points, Friday following a slump yesterday mainly due to positive earnings reports and dividend announcements. All Share Price Index rose 15.04 points (0.21%) to end at 7,288.74 while the S&P SL 20 index dipped by 1.49 points (0.04%) to end at 4,067.14. Turnover was 905 million down from 1.7 billion rupees, Thursday. The benchmark index was that active trading was seen in the industrial stock with two counters recording 52 week highs,” more..

Rathu Ira: Ranil Wickremesinghe

EU and UNDP develop youth leadership at grass-roots level

May 22 (Island) The European Union (EU) together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) recently inaugurated a Youth Leadership Development Programme (YLDP) in the Vavuniya, Batticaloa and Mannar districts, where over 250 youth will commence a three-month long course conducted by the University of Jaffna (UoJ). The Vavuniya Campus and the Eastern University have joined hands with the UoJ to implement the course in their respective districts. more..

Patriotic Muslim Collective protests against environmentalists

May 22 (Island) A group of people calling themselves Patriotic Muslim Collective (PMC) demonstrated yesterday opposite the Centre for Society and Religion in Maradana against a media conference conducted by environmentalists against settlements in Wilpattu National Park. Environmentalists accused the protestors of being led by Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, while protestors claimed that they wanted to start their livelihoods in their native lands adjacent to Wilpattu Park. more..

Video: Over 60 sign no-confidence motion against PM: Dullas

May 22 (DM) UPFA MP Dullas Alahapperuma said no-confidence motion against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe so far signed by more than 60 MPs including 14 ministers, deputy ministers and state ministers would be handed over to the Speaker next week. He said they were sure to receive the support of a majority of MPs and that it would be significant being the only no-confidence motion submitted against a PM with a more..

Finance Minister offers to settle GK depositors from next Monday

May 22 (Island) Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake told parliament that the govt could commence paying back the Golden Key depositors starting from next Monday without waiting for the next hearing date of the case filed by them seeking the reimbursement of their funds. He said the govt had agreed to pay 41% of the deposits of the Golden Key depositors subject to the withdrawal of the pending court cases filed by them. more..

Attanayake wants to contest general election from Kandy

May 22 (Island) Former UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayaka MP said in Kandy yesterday that he would contest the forthcoming general election. "I will definitely contest at the general election from the Kandy District but at the moment I am unable to name the political party. I await the response from the UNP, the MP said. Tissa Attanayake was responding to media questions after calling on the prelate of the Asgiriya Vihare. more..

'Colombo welcomes Malaysia's proposal on three mega projects'

May 22 (Bernama) Colombo has welcomed Malaysia’s proposal for govt to govt cooperation in the implementation of at least three infrastructure projects worth billions of dollars in Sri Lanka. Special Envoy to India & South Asia for Infrastructure Datuk Seri Vellu who is on a three-day working visit to Sri Lanka since May 19, said SL President Maithripala Sirisena would direct his officials to pursue govt to govt cooperation. more..

Khalil bus driver still traumatised by 2009 attack on Sri Lankan team

May 22 (AFP) Meher Khalil earned fame and success after saving Sri Lanka's cricket team from a deadly 2009 attack in Pakistan, but the bus driver calls the incident "tragic" and says it is best forgotten. The 43-year-old will be one of the guests of honour at Lahore's Gaffafi Stadium on Friday, when Pakistan play Zimbabwe in their first home international since the notorious incident. Khalil was driving team's bus when it was attacked by more..

No solution to flooding in Colombo!

May 22 (SL) While much has been said about the causes for flooding in Colombo and the suburbs, the irony is no practical solution to the problem has been taken yet. While the city and surrounding areas were developed and the city beautification took centre stage, there were many allegations levelled against the previous regime that the drainage system was not updated which resulted in the flooding these areas. more..