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Protests over a private party making a kill at the expense of CMC

Mar 29 (Island) The continued outsourcing of crucial tests on food and water standards in the city to a private sector facility by the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) has caused widespread concern, with allegations that the transfer of responsibility has afforded an opportunity to a close relative of a senior politician to make millions of rupees. Permitting a privately-owned laboratory to handle this critical task defies belief as more..

Significant changes in 19A; any MP can act for President

Mar 29 (ST) A new draft of the 19th Amendment presented to party leaders this week provides for an ordinary MP to act for the President in the event of a vacancy if, for some reason, it cannot be filled by the Speaker. Amendment also takes away the designation of Head of Govt from the President, leaving him/her with the positions of Head of the State, Head of the Executive and Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces. more..

‘Police have acted impartially, Court will decide’

Mar 29 (Island) As a sequel to the flare-up, where Dr. Maheshi Wijeratne was accused of attacking a woman with a wine glass in a five-star hotel, police are investigating a subsequent counter-complaint by Sri J'pura hospital consultant neurosurgeon that the victim and two other persons had allegedly harassed her mother during the incident. Menaka Galgamuwa & Damith Vitharana, who had accompanied Rhonda de Ley, more..

Govt follows Rajapaksa policies in controlling private banks

Mar 29 (ST) Sweeping changes are set to take place on the boards of six Sri Lankan private commercial banks in which the Govt has a stake, triggering concern across the banking sector. Govt nominees have been named as directors, eventually to take over as chairpersons, at Hatton National Bank (HNB), Commercial Bank, National Development Bank (NDB), Sampath Bank, DFCC and Seylan Bank, Sunday Times learns. more..

Missing…. or are they?

Mar 29 (SL) Families of the Disappeared (FoD) had several meetings last week with some key members of the govt claiming that they have proof to say some of those reported missing are still alive. Activist Brito Fernando said that FoD is in fact not challenging the govt but presenting the facts and is requesting the govt to take appropriate measures to find those reported missing. more..

Video: Protest over full-face helmet ban

Mar 29 (DM) A demonstration was staged in Colombo today against the proposed full-face helmet ban and a petition was also handed over to the PM’s office. Nearly 1000 people, most of them on motorbikes and wearing full-face helmets, took part in the demonstration saying full-face helmets are required for the safety of the riders. The ban on full-face helmets, which was earlier introduced but was then withdrawn, more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Mar 29 (ST) Two different Magistrates’ Courts have frozen funds belonging to Sirilak Saviya Foundation and Pushpa Rajapaksa Foundation. Sirilak Saviya Foundation is headed by Shiranthi Rajapaksa, wife of former president Rajapaksa. Pushpa Rajapaksa Foundation is headed by Pushpa, wife of former Minister Basil Rajapaksa. Newly set up FCID is to record statements from both Shiranthi and Pushpa. more..

Lee Kuan said he learnt from SL’s blunders

Mar 29 (Island) Writing about Lee Kuan Yew, at least for this writer, is not like writing about Nelson Mandela or Aung San Suu Kyi. People like Mandela and Suu Kyi were and are beacons of freedom, agents of transition and transformation in politics and in society. They liberate people, or at least give them a sense of liberation, from pre-existing, or inherited, bondage. But their record in providing efficient govt, and in creating and bequeathing national economic success, more..

Public interest to the fore

Mar 29 (Island) The good news yesterday was that three good governance activists, all of them experienced and respected members of society with many educational and career attainments to their credit, have invoked the fundamental rights jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to have the controversial Central Bank bond issue which has been very much in the news recently examined by a competent panel of experts. Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran is on leave until more..

Dissolution likely after Vesak, General Elections in late June

Mar 29 (ST) The Lodge, once known as Queen’s Cottage, in Nuwara Eliya, often referred to as Little England was once home for British Governors and the ruling elite. Since independence in 1948, it became the holiday resort of the Governor General, later PMs and now Presidents. Unknown to most Sri Lankans, this turned out to be a centre in the tea country highlands for the campaign to re-elect Mahinda Rajapaksa at more..

MiG fighter deal: Ex SLAF Cdr grilled on purchase decision

Mar 29 (SO) Financial Fraud Investigation Division (FFID) is probing the extent of the loss suffered by the purchase of four MiG 27 Flogger D fighter-bomber aircraft in 2006, a deal struck without a performance bond and the vital End User Certificate. Top police sources said, the FFID questioned Air Marshal Roshan Gunathilake on Friday for hours to ascertain the extent of financial loss to the country due to purchasing four MiGs, at a staggering US$ 14,676,000 for the four units. more..

Chinese companies to be paid

Mar 29 (SL) The Highways Ministry has decided to recommence all the main and provincial road development projects which had been suspended by the relevant Chinese companies due to the non-payment of dues. Highways, Higher Education and Investment Promotion Ministry Secretary Udaya Ranjith Seneviratne said that the ministry had paid Rs. 1,000 million on March 26 to the relevant Chinese contractors. It is reported that these Chinese companies had earlier decided to more..

Major political shock after Vesak

Mar 29 (CT) Parliament will not be dissolved at midnight of April 23 as pledged in govt's 100-day Programme and the public instead is very likely to be dealt a huge political shock immediately after Vesak that falls in the first week of May, reliable political sources said. Asked to explain the type of political shock in the offing after Vesak the source said 'It is too early to disclose it, all I can say right now is that the President and PM more..

Three new clauses added to 19A

Mar 29 (CT) Govt has decided to include three more clauses to the Draft 19th Amendment to the Constitution in response to pressures from the JVP, the JHU and certain sections of the SLFP, sources said. But there could still be more opposition from the JHU despite the addition of the three clauses to the amendment. A govt spokesman said the new clauses will be tabled during the Committee Stage of debate on the 19th Amendment on 7 and 8 April. President Maithripala Sirisena will express more..

President to visit Pakistan

Mar 29 (SL) President Maithripala Sirisena is scheduled to visit Pakistan early next month. Foreign Ministry sources said that the dates for the visit are now being finalized. Meanwhile, the Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan at Colombo, Dr. Sarfraz Sipra expressed deep shock, heartfelt condolences and sympathies on behalf of the people and the Government of Pakistan on the demise of Priyantha Sirisena, the youngest brother of the President of Sri Lanka. more..

Interpol help sought to track Weeratunga

Mar 29 (CT) Deputy Minister, Ajtih P. Perera said former Lankan envoy to Moscow, Udayanga Weeratunga, still at large after the revelation of alleged weapons sales to Ukrainian rebels, will be tracked down with Interpol assistance if a probe into those allegations justify it. Former UPFA Govt never changed Weeratunga's Moscow posting which he held unbroken for 9 years. He speaks the Russian language fluently and still owns a more..

Mattala to be leased out

Mar 29 (SL) The Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited says plans are in progress to lease out the Mattala Mahinda Rajapaksa International Airport to several local and foreign companies. The corporate communication official of the company, Derik Karunaratna said that the decision was taken since the company is losing Rs. 250 million per month. The Mattala Airport will be leased out as per the MRO concept to a foreign aviation company as well as to SriLankan Airlines. more..

Full Text: President's speech at Boao forum

Mar 29 (DM) President Sirisena expressed hope that the Free Trade Agreement with China, currently under negotiations, will provide further inputs for value addition and economic cooperation in the region. Speaking at the Opening Plenary of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference in China, President said also that Sri Lanka as a maritime nation with natural ecological advantages will work in tandem with friendly countries to maintain cooperation in the maritime age. more..

New look at electoral reforms: 250 seats

Mar 29 (ST) New electoral reforms where the number of seats in Parliament will be increased to 250 from the existing 225 will be explained to party leaders tomorrow by Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya. The new package will see the election to 140 seats through the First-Past-the-Post system, 80 through a District proportional representation system and 30 seats from the National List. more..

Pass in O/L Maths is compulsory to follow A/L classes from 2017

Mar 29 (ST) A Pass in Maths at the GCE O/L will be compulsory to follow GCE A/L classes, with effect from 2017, the Education Ministry has decided. Even students in the Arts stream will be required to obtain at least a simple pass in Maths, in contrast to the current system where Maths is exempted to enter certain streams. However, students of the Arts stream will have the option of obtaining a pass in Maths while following A/L classes, and need not have a pass in Maths to follow A/L classes. more..

Fixed prices on tea and hoppers: Too bitter a pill to swallow- traders

Mar 29 (ST) The recent decision by the Govt to impose fixed prices for a cup of tea and hoppers has not gone down well with traders, with some up-market cafes opting to ignore the regulation, and smaller boutiques deciding not to sell these items at all. Authorities have warned that the rule would be strictly enforced. “The prices of tea and hoppers were reduced because of the price reduction of gas, sugar, milk powder, electricity and kerosene oil. I understand that a cup of milk tea can be more..

India and Sri Lanka to fight ISI influence

Mar 29 (AA) Following a change in regime in Sri Lanka, India intelligence agencies will engage with their Sri Lankan counterparts to crack down on what they describe as the “growing influence of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)” in the region, particularly with the active support of the staff of Pakistan’s embassy in Colombo. Top intelligence sources said there was concrete information that some Pakistani embassy more..

SEC probes take a decisive turn

Mar 29 (ST) Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is reopening investigations in cases that were closed during the past regime in a bid to determine if all information had been considered in scrutinising the alleged malpractices especially when files were closed due to insufficient information. “This was a popular excuse when certain probes didn’t see the light of day,” an analyst commented, adding that this should be sufficient cause to restart inquiries pertaining to market misconduct. more..

'Colombo bourse chugs along same route'

Mar 29 (ST) Share price trends have been on the lower side for several weeks since a new administration emerged with analysts attributing the downturn to a combination of reasons including uncertainty over impending polls and, as of this week, the approaching April season. Colombo bourse started the week on a slightly higher note on Monday’s early trade in another trading session marked by thin trade, but closed the week on a slump owing to investors opting to more..

Student protests politically motivated: VC

Mar 29 (NS) It is a small group of students who are protesting against the student fee increments at the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL), the University Vice Chancellor Dr. Vijitha Nanayakkara said. “They are a politically motivated group,” he added, explaining that the academic activities of the university are conducted despite the Satyagraha held by the activists and the posters that have been put up throughout the university. more..

UDA struggles to maintain displaced residents of Tata project

Mar 29 (ST) The UDA is short of cash to continue rental payments for 582 families evicted to make way for Indian Tata Housing’s US$429.5 million mixed development project at Slave Island, Colombo. This is because the Indian company is yet to fulfill its financial obligations in accordance with contractual agreements, official sources revealed. Work on the project has been suspended pending sorting of some issues between the new Government and the developer. more..

Non-prosecution of mega fraudsters: Govt draws heavy flak

Mar 29 (SO) Govt has drawn heavy flak for undermining good governance by aiding and abetting mega scale fraudsters and not expediting the prosecution of culprits who continue to roam freely and even accuse the current Govt of being corrupt. Anti Corruption Committee Secretariat (ACCS) has received a large number of complaints related to massive financial frauds and after preliminary studies, the files are handed over to Fraud and Corruption Investigation Division more..

Confusion over interest waiver on pawned jewellery

Mar 29 (ST) Although the govt has promised to waive interest accumulated due to delays in redeeming gold jewellery pawned in state banks for less than Rs.200,000, these banks continue to levy the interest payment, though less, contrary to the budget proposal. A large number of customers said that they have fallen from frying pan to the fire, when the banks told them that they will have to pay current interest rate when more..

Kiwi and Kangaroo orchestras to perform concerto – Chin Music

Mar 29 (ST) Go rush to your TV screen and get glued to the final episode of the concerto Chin Music on stage at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds in progress right now. Two orchestras – one representing Australia and the other representing New Zealand have put their wits to test to learn as whose players would play the better version of Chin Music. Yes, ladies and gentlemen it is time for the final of the Cricket World Cup 2015 version. Though cricket is essentially a batsman’s game more..

FFSL President and VP at loggerheads

Mar 29 (CT) The vice president of Football Federation of Sri Lanka Sunil Senaweera says that the current president of FFSL Ranjith Rodrigo should take the responsibility for the Sri Lanka team's recent unworthy performances including the one with Bhutan in the World Cup qualifier. Present FFSL president's only concern is about his personnel agenda, he has no interest in promoting the game, blamed Sunil Senaweera vice president of FFSL and a former referee more..

Cricket elections and Yahapalanaya

Mar 29 (ST) On Jan 8, 2015, hopes of Yahapalanaya loomed large over Sri Lanka. On that day of planetary change, most Sri Lankans thronged polling stations to cast their vote for change, and a new era was born — or was it? Besides national elections, there is another election that begs the attention of most Sri Lankans. That is the election to choose office bearers of Sri Lanka Cricket – the official body that governs the game in SL. more..

SL now part of Canterbury’s rugby roost

Mar 29 (NS) The world’s leading producer and marketer of rugby wear, Canterbury International, is impressed by Sri Lanka’s appeal for the brand and contends the island-nation is the foremost place in the region (South Asia) for its products. The analysis and observations were made by none other than the manufacturer’s Sales and Business Development Manager for Asia, Simon Leung. “This is the best opportunity for Canterbury in this part of the world and we are looking forward to more..

Crossovers and political-currents hit SLFP

Mar 29 (CT) Political centre stage in the country was taken by storm last Sunday when 26 SLFP front liners accepted ministerial portfolios to form, a National Govt under President Sirisena. As pressure was building up against UNP led govt of PM Wickremesinghe and former President Rajapaksa gaining ground through a strong force within SLFP Opposition, Sirisena and Wickremesinghe shrewdly moved in to divide the Opposition by offering ministerial posts to 26 SLFP MPs. more..

Ranjan apologizes for not catching thieves

Mar 29 (CT) Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake, who was instrumental in exposing many corrupt activities of the previous govt, is now silent. We asked him why? Q: You promised before the presidential election that thieves would be caught. However, so far, nothing has happened. What have you got to say about your promise now? A: Actually, the situation is not so bad. We were afraid that we would be killed if we lost election on 8 Jan. more..

Pulling wool over the ayes

Mar 29 (SL) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s attempt to force the 19th Amendment through parliament has caused more than palpitations amongst the ruling elite. Champika Ranawaka has led the charge against Ranil Wickremesinghe and has explained in plain words exactly what the repercussions are. Once in a while it pays to listen to what the Minister of Power and Energy says: what he has to say is rocking Ranil Wickremesinghe far more than the Treasury bond issue. more..

A foreign policy doctrine

Mar 29 (SO) Sri Lanka was being described as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean long before the term 'string of pearls' was coined by modern Western analysts to describe the network of friendly states and bases being built by China as it projects its power globally in consonance with its new-found economic might. Such was our island home's regional significance that some ancient geographers depicted the island on their maps far bigger in size than its actual extent. more..