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Clean up op, her mission

May 23 (ST) Throughout the ceremony to mark the assumption of duty by the new Public Trustee, this is the message that was resonating over and over again and this is what the new incumbent is determined to do. There is no ambiguity and her convictions are obvious, when we meet Attorney Tharangani Disanayake the next day, the first woman to head this august department established in 1929. more..

The political economy of change

May 23 (ST) Political uncertainties and economic confusion characterised the first four months of this year. Uncertainty of what lies ahead after a parliamentary election will slow down economic growth in 2015 to 6.5% or below compared to the 7.4% achieved in 2014. Does this mean that 2015 is a lost year for the economy? The cutback in govt investment in infrastructure, much of which was funded by foreign debt, is one reason for the decline in economic growth. more..

Vadamarachchi: Was President JR a traitor?

May 23 (Island) Several questions arose in my mind while reading the opening paragraphs of K.M. de Silva’s Sri Lanka and the Defeat of the LTTE (2012). In May 1987 the armed forces led by General Cyril Ranatunge routed the LTTE at Vadamarachchi, and Prabhakaran together with some of his top associates fled in disarray to Tamil Nadu where they were accommodated by the regional government. General Ranatunge had planned to proceed thereafter to Jaffna town and its environs, but more..

Govt allocates Rs.400 million to establish IT Labs in 2015

May 23 (GDI) Govt has taken steps to launch a programme to provide computer laboratories to selected schools around the country. The Information and Communication Technology Unit operating under the External Affairs Ministry will carry out this project around the country for which funds would be generated from local and foreign sources. Every IT laboratory will be equipped with 10 desktop computers, printers, scanners, more..

Editorial: Waiting for polls

May 23 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena’s recent statement that there will be a new govt in September has fuelled speculation in political circles that Parliament will be dissolved shortly. The UNP is in a mighty hurry to face a general election and the SLFP wants the 20th Amendment to the Constitution passed before the polls. Why the UNP is champing at the bit to contest a general election is understandable. It is obviously not keen on electoral reforms. more..

A choice between stability and virtue?

May 23 (Island) I start with a quote from Shang Yang (390-338 BC), an insightful statesman in the Chinese state of Qin: "A country where the virtuous govern the wicked will suffer from disorder, so that it will be dismembered; but a country where the wicked govern the virtuous will be orderly, so that it will become strong." Although this quote on governance is over 2300 years old, issues are still relevant. Jan Presidential election was fought as one between stability & good governance. more..

Drums & Dance: Emotions in motion

May 23 (SO) Two superbly skilled and gifted SL artistes will come together in Drums & Dance, a one of a kind performance that both energized and galvanizes percussion, music and dance at the Bishops College Auditorium on May 28. Veterans Rakitha Wickramaratne and Chandana Wickramasinghe are renowned professional artistes acclaimed and applauded locally and internationally for producing/staging novel recitals/concerts. more..

Sri Lankan strides in post-colonial Britain

May 23 (NS) The recent parliamentary elections in Britain saw the election of a UK citizen of Sri Lankan origin as a member to the British legislature. This piece of news made the front page news in many a newspaper in SL. Ranil Jayawardena MP from North East Hampshire who is of Sri Lankan paternity has certainly marked a ‘moment’ for Sri Lanka’s postcolonial journey. Interestingly, it was 200 years ago –in 1815 that the British Crown entered into the Kandyan Convention of 1815 more..

Finding a path to true democracy in SL

May 23 (NS) Through historical narratives and human experiences mankind witnesses the shift from the power of one individual to a wider representational body. As colonial empires imposed draconian rules, it became impossible to govern the natives as the public believed in strengthening the representative system for their economic freedom and further political rights. Sri Lanka experienced historical political achievement with the passing of the 19th Amendment with more..

Medicine for electoral cure

May 23 (FT) Election System – Making Every Citizen a Winner is a series of proposals prepared by Dr. Namal Wijesinghe on a new election system. In an interview, Dr. Wijesinghe shared his views on the new system, which he says is ‘reasonable and justifiable to all sections of people and parties’. Q: Tell us about the series of proposals prepared by you on a new election system? A: These proposals on a new election system more..

Parades, present and long past

May 23 (CT) Oh dearie me! We have had two parades commemorating 18/19 May – the day the LTTE was defeated by the armed forces in 2009. One parade called the day 'Victory Day' and was commemorated in Colombo in the Viharamaha Devi Park on 18 May – a breakaway celebration organized by an unknown group that styles itself National Movement to Safeguard Motherland. This Victory Day celebration was themed Protect the Motherland Liberated by Heroes and was more..

Vithya's killing Symptom of a bruised society

May 23 (CT) Jaffna Public Library, Jaffna Central College, Police Station, Court Complex, and Veerasingham Hall which is the premier auditorium in Jaffna along with the Jaffna Teaching Hospital are situated in close proximity to the Jaffna Dutch Fort and those land mark buildings had suffered immensely as a result of heavy exchange of fire between the Security Forces and the Tamil militants until Jaffna was liberated from the LTTE in 1995. The Jaffna Court functioned temporarily more..

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..