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Probing probable homicides

Apr 1 (SO) This feline’s cat-fur (hair) stood on end and her whiskers (lips actually) quivered with distrust and indignation when she read the headline: ‘Dhammaloka Thera alleges foul play in Ven. Sobhitha’s death: ready to give evidence before a special commission’ on Tuesday, March 22 followed the next day by the headline: ‘Prez, PM urged to probe Ven. Sobhitha Thera’s demise: Prelate’s successor warns govt of dire consequences unless impartial probe is held’. more..

Good governance is not a Utopia!

Apr 1 (CT) Good governance or Yahapalana is not and should not be a utopia, to mean an ideal state, which is according to some, never reachable. Of course like democracy, the achievements of good governance are measured and should be measured by the degree. Not in absolute terms, but in relative achievements. The measurements can be hazy or largely subjective, unless they are grounded on (measurable) objective criteria. It is true that like democracy, there is no all agreeable more..

'Govt has made progress; demonstratable progress needed to regain GSP+'

Apr 1 (SO) The Charge d'affaires of the EU, Paul Godfrey said the former SL Govt violated 15 UN human rights conventions but were now on track and observing a majority of them. In the light of this re-gaining the GSP plus tariff concession in the near future was a possibility, he said. He said the demand for an international inquiry on alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka had been shelved and aligning with UNHRHC, more..

Contending with Rejection and Exclusion: Take Two on the Kuliyapitiya Debacle

Apr 1 (GV) I preface this piece by acknowledging my own discomfort as an educator in addressing sticky issues of equity and justice in education. I was motivated to write this piece in view of recent events, particularly the rejection of the 6-year old boy (assumed to have AIDS), from public school. The point of this article is not to offer definitive conclusions concerning the issue that arose, rather it is an attempt to make visible complex socio-cultural realities that account for the processes which more..

Vaddukoddai resolution: A watershed in the history of Eelam Tamils

Apr 1 (CT) The Vaddukoddai Resolution of May 14th 1976 is a watershed in the history of the Eelam Tamil freedom struggle. The late Dr A.J. Wilson former head of the political science department of Brunswick University, described it in his book, S.J.V Chelvanayakam and the Crisis of SL Tamil Nationalism, 1947-1977 – page 128, as the turning point when Eelam Tamils turned their minds towards liberation: “In the years after the onset of the Sirimavo govt’s policies underlining Sinhala more..

'Prevalent power crisis: Plans in the pipeline and praying for rain'

Apr 1 (FT) Denying widespread speculation that the administration of the Norochcholai Power Plant will be handed over to China, Deputy Minister Ajith Perera said the Government was only proposing a ‘separate management unit’ but ownership and management would be handled by Sri Lanka. “We are not going to privatise Norochcholai; we are not going to hand over it to China. Those are mere rumours. more..

Sri Lanka’s energy mix

Apr 1 (NS) Sri Lanka is facing a crunch time in terms of electricity generation as the country faces a strong prospect of a prolonged drought and the resultant drop in water levels in catchment areas of hydropower reservoirs expected to continue. In the wake of the crisis, Chairman of CEB, Anura Wijepala, last week, said the key utility provider was now planning to re-connect de-commissioned private plants either through extensions of power purchase agreements or outright purchase, more..

Shield against illiteracy

Apr 1 (DN) The First stage of a child's educational development is before he or she enters the formal education system. As such parents have a major role in this stage. However, the Govt cannot disclaim its responsibility to ensure, oversee and guide pre-school education. Unfortunately this vital area of education has received only scant attention of the govt in our country. The parental thirst for educating their offspring is being utilized by unscrupulous elements & sub-standard private pre-schools more..

Mahinda Amaraweera

Getting US messaging about Sri Lanka's democratic transition right

Apr 1 (TD) Nisha Biswal, U.S. State Department’s assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, spoke at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, on Monday. Her prepared remarks were brief and broad. Again we witnessed a senior official in the Barack Obama administration praising Sri Lanka’s recent democratic transition. Here’s part of what Biswal said: Sri Lanka deserves special attention as it continues to more..

Sri Lanka tea sees improved demand for low growns at auction

Apr 1 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s tea prices in overall auction offerings this week were marginally lower with better demand for low grown and mid to high grown prices easier, Forbes & Walker Tea Brokers said in their latest report. “Low Growns continued to witness improved demand all around and consequently an appreciation in prices,” the report said. “High and Medium Grown seasonal teas were lower following quality whilst prices at the lower end were dearer around.” more..

Chinese investors eye space in Sri Lanka’s seafood-export-basket

Apr 1 (Island) A visiting Chinese trade delegation which comprised several investors from Yunnan province of China have identified what is still lacking in Sri Lanka's seafood-export-basket and have shown their enthusiasm to top it up. Certain items of the local fish harvest which are not processed or consumed locally, but nevertheless have a demand in the global market including China itself have come under their focus for more..

Editorial: A wake-up call

Apr 1 (Island) The chance detection of an explosive cache in the North and the arrest of a hardcore Tiger on Wednesday have caused quite a stir in defence and political circles. The govt has, true to form, sought to put a bold face on it. No sooner had the detection of a suicide jacket, mines, explosives and ammunition been made than Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi claimed there was no threat to national security. One found his tone pregnant with flippancy and sarcasm which, more..

Is there an Abraham Lincoln in the room?

Apr 1 (Island) The overwhelming show of strength by the Combined Opposition on March 17 showed the extent of public disillusionment with the promise of Yahapalanaya that has turned out to be worse than an unfunny joke.The protest and events within the SLFP since then prove that President Sirisena is now a king without a crown as far as his would-be powerbase is concerned. The peoples’ justifiable anger over the govt’s lack of management skills necessary to run the country was palpable more..

SL’s unemployment at 4.3% in 4Q 2015

Apr 1 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s statistics office said unemployment rate for the fourth quarter of 2015 has been estimated as 4.3% against the 5% reported for the third quarter of 2015. Estimated economically active population is about 8.9 million in the fourth quarter of which 64.5% are males and 35.5% are females. Labour force population expressed as a percentage of the working age population (age 15 years and over) more..

West Indies power-hit their way to T20 final

Apr 1 (CI) A man who was caught off a no-ball twice beat a man who should have been run-out twice off a single free-hit. That was how comical - and spectacular - this World T20 semi-final was. And the ultimate gag was that Virat Kohli's 89 not out off 47 balls was nothing short of a batting clinic, but Lendl Simmons 82 not out off 51 balls led a West Indian demolition job that left India's chances of winning another title at home in the rubble. A target of 193 would not have frightened Darren Sammy. more..

Arrest warrants issued for Samanali, Indrachapa

Apr 1 (CT) Kurunegala Chief Magistrate issued an open warrant to arrest actress Samanali Fonseka and singer Indrachapa Liyanage for failure to appear in Court. The couple are witnesses in a case where a group of New Generation artistes were attacked during the 8 January Presidential Election campaign, while engaging in a concert named Malawen Midemu in Kumbukgete. When the case was taken up for hearing yesterday, the couple were not present in Court. more..

Video: Sinhala Ravaya wants Minister Amaratunga behind bars

Apr 1 (DM) Sinhala Ravaya lodged a complaint with the Police Headquarters regarding the removal of the passageway at Mabola in Wattala, and called for the arrest of Minister John Amaratunga. Sinhala Ravaya General Secretary Ven. Magalkande Sudatta Thera said minister should be arrested under the Public Properties Act for removing the passageway. “PM had previously made a statement more..

Three Sri Lankans in action today

Apr 1 (CT) Sri Lanka's sprint stars, Himasha Eashan and Rumeshika Rathnayake together with 800m champion Nimali Liyanarachchi will be in action today at the 94th Australian Open Athletics Championships which will continue at the Sydney Olympic Stadium for the second day. Rumeshika, Fastest Woman in South Asia will be the first Sri Lankan to be in action as she will compete in 100m first round event at 11:30 a.m SL time followed by Himasha the Fastest Man in South Asia, more..

Blue Ridge changes command in Sri Lanka

Apr 1 (USN) Capt. Matthew Paradise relieved Capt. Kyle Higgins as commanding officer USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) during a change of command ceremony March 29. Blue Ridge is currently on patrol in the 7th Fleet area of operations, strengthening and fostering relationships in the Indo-Asia Pacific region. Higgins served as commanding officer for over 14 months, leading the ship and crew through two patrol cycles, one including the rescue of five stranded Filipino fisherman and more..

Video: MR should make a statement in Parliament: Ranil

Apr 1 (DM) Responding to former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had told him that the govt should focus on the country’s security following the recent detection of hidden arms and ammunition, and the comments made by former minister G.L. Peiris, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that Mr. Rajapaksa should make a statement in parliament and Professor Peiris should divulge to police all of the information more..

Govt readies development bill to fast-track foreign investment

Apr 1 (FT) The Govt is preparing a Development Bill to fast-track economic growth, aided by higher Foreign Direct Investment. State Minister of International Trade Sujeewa Senasinghe told reporters at the weekly Cabinet briefing that the Govt would continue to promote Sri Lanka to attract foreign investment. His Ministry will meet with exporters every two months to iron out issues and continue efforts to create a one-stop-shop for foreign investors. more..

Software engineers challenge Right to Information Bill in SC

Apr 1 (FT) Two software engineers have filed a petition challenging certain clauses in the Right to Information Bill. Indika Gamage and Buddhika Sirinimal, President and Assistant Secretary respectively of the Sri Lanka IT Professionals Association, filed their petition seeking the Supreme Court’s Special Determination. They state that the Bill titled the Right to Information Bill was placed on the Order Paper of Parliament on or about March 24. more..

IRD commissioner remains mum on reversal of tax circular

Apr 1 (DN) Inland Revenue Commissioner General Kalyani Dahnayake remained tight-lipped over the suspicious reversal of the March 28 circular issued by her department which sets out the guidelines for the implementation of the income tax proposals in 2016 budget. Commissioner reluctantly said that there had been a mistake and hence it had to be withdrawn. asked if the circular would be re-imposed, she declined to comment. more..

Selvaraja to foster grass root level basketball

Apr 1 (DN) Basketball is becoming a rapidly popularizing sport in Sri Lanka and a well known coach, Sivashakthi Selvaraja, better known as Selva has initiated a grass root level basketball development programme which he hopes to conduct in all parts of the country with the support of world basketball governing body, Fédération Internationale de Basket-ball (FIBA) and the National Olympic Committee in Switzerland. Commenting about the programme Selvaraja said, more..

Dayasiri begins preparation process

Apr 1 (CT) Minister Dayasiri Jayaseakra conducted a meeting for sports administrators including the presidents and secretaries of each National Sports Federations (NSF) to discuss the preparations for the next Asian and Commonwealth Games to be held in 2018. Minister called for reports from each NSF's about their chances at the Asian and Commonwealth Games by July this year in order to prepare a work plan for improvement and development of sports and athletes targeting more..

FSP warns govt against expelling its leader from Sri Lanka

Apr 1 (Island) FSP asked the govt not to expel its leader Kumar Gunaratnam, who was given a one-year imprisonment and fined Rs. 50,000 for violating emigration and immigration laws. It demanded that he be granted SL citizenship. FSP Propaganda Secretary Pubudu Jayagoda said they had got information that some high ranking Cabinet ministers wanted to have Gunaratnam expelled after his release from the prison. more..

Chinese returns part of Bangladesh funds stolen by hackers

Apr 1 (AP) A Chinese casino junket operator on Thursday returned $4.63 million of the $81 million that hackers stole from the Bangladesh central bank's account in the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank and laundered in Manila's casinos, officials said. Kam Sin Wong, a longtime Manila-based businessman, surrendered the money from one of the world's largest cyberheists to Philippine anti-money laundering officials and the Bangladeshi ambassador. more..

Rs 10 billion to set up incubators, innovation centres

Apr 1 (DN) Minister Harin Fernando said plans are underway to implement 64 new projects for the development of the information and communication technology (ICT) sector. Rs. 10 billion will be allocated for the initial stage of these projects. Fernando made these views addressing the Meet the Minister program, organized by the National Chamber of Commerce. He saidplans are also afoot to implement the one million app strategy and digital classroom strategy in the near future. more..

'Chavakachcheri explosives meant to cause destruction'

Apr 1 (Island) Northern Province Governor Reginald Cooray said that the deadly cache detected at Meesalai, Chavakachcheri had been brought there to cause destruction. The armaments couldn’t have been brought in for a peaceful purpose, he said, asserting that moderates always attracted the wrath of extremists. Asked whether President Maithripala Sirisena could have been targeted by the LTTE, more..

Mahela joins Somerset

Apr 1 (ECB) Somerset have pulled off another major coup for their NatWest T20 Blast campaign after signing Mahela Jayawardene for 12 of the their 14 group games this summer. Jayawardene will now join up with big-hitting West Indian Chris Gayle after he announced his return to the Cooper Associates County Ground earlier in the year as Somerset will boast one of the best batting line-ups in the competition. The former Sri Lanka captain has had an illustrious career thus far, more..

Protests demanding UN intervention

Apr 1 (CT) National Movement for Consumer Rights Protection (NMCRP) will stage a protest demonstration opposite the United Nations HQ today to urge them to investigate and intervene in protecting the rights of consumers in the country. Chairman of the NMCRP said that the Consumer Protection Authority was established in accordance with UN Consumer Rights Declaration of 2003. It was done with the noble intentions of safeguarding the rights of the consumers. more..

Suicide jacket and Tiger cadre in custody: Some startling findings

Apr 1 (Island) An LTTE cadre now under interrogation had brought a suicide jacket, four claymore mines, three parcels containing about 12 kgs of TNT, two battery packs as well as 100 rounds of 9mm ammunition to a safe house in Chavakachcheri, in the Jaffna on Sunday night. Police identified the suspect as Edward Julian alias Ramesh (32). A raiding police party on Tuesday night found the armaments in a room. more..

CEB to purchase only required electricity from private sector

Apr 1 (Island) The Cabinet of Ministers has decided that only the required quantum of electricity to overcome shortages due to the prevailing drought conditions, would be purchased from the private sector. The decision was based on the recommendations of the C. Maliyedda Committee Report which was presented to the Cabinet by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday, Media Minister Gayantha Karunathillake told the media in Colombo yesterday. more..

'Seizure of arms won’t affect demilitarisation'

Apr 1 (Hindu) The recent seizure of a host of arms in Jaffna and Mannar of the Northern Province will not have any adverse bearing on the Sri Lankan govt’s plan for demilitarising the North, according to Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi. “It [demilitarisation] will go on,” Mr. Hettiarachchi told The Hindu on Thursday. However, he hastened to add that demilitarisation is “not the right word. What we say is right-sizing and right-deployment” of security forces.” more..

All trade agreements to go before parliament

Apr 1 (DN) The drafts of all trade and investment agreements the govt hopes to enter into with foreign countries will be presented to Parliament prior to signing them, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. PM said the govt expects to sign trade and investment agreements with the US, India, China, Singapore, Japan, Eastern European and other SAARC countries in the next few months. He said once the drafts of these agreements more..

Sports, money and human rights in Qatar

Apr 1 (DM) During the past 40 years the noble values of sports also have been sacrificed to the deity of money. In the 1970s, the business tycoon Kerry Packer bowled out and buried legendary figures such as Sir Donald Bradman and Sir Leonard Hutton, to make cricket a big business with match fixing also hurling bouncers at the spirit of the game. Even the hallowed Olympics suffered one of its worst blows when the International Olympic Committee said Russia had won most of its more..

RTI Licence to fight

Apr 1 (DM) Exactly 14 months after January 20, last year, the date on which the Right to Information Bill was to be presented in Parliament under the 100 Day Programme put forward by President Maithripala Sirisena during the last Presidential election campaign, the Government managed to present it in the House on March 23 this year. Before that Right to Information (RTI) was incorporated in 19th Amendment to the Constitution that was adopted on April 28 last year. more..

Heatstroke: A possible hazard with the current weather conditions

Apr 1 (ST) Heat stroke results from prolonged exposure to high temperatures and with the influence of global warming it is predicted that the incidence of heatstroke and its fatalities will also become more prevalent. Heat stroke often occurs as a progression from milder heat-related illnesses such as heat cramps, heat syncope (fainting), and heat exhaustion. Heatstroke is the most severe form of the heat-related illnesses and is defined as more..

Sri Lanka finance companies at risk from soaring micro-credt: Fitch

Apr 1 (EN) Sri Lanka's non-bank lenders or finance companies are at risk from micro-finance which has soared from 4% of total credit in 2014 to 27% by December 2015, Fitch Ratings said amid a gap in regulation. Micro-finance involves giving a loan to an individual who is part of a small group, with the rest of the group members cross-guaranteeing the loans If there is a default. "Lending is generally in small amounts, and is used to support more..