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Justice besieged

Jan 25 (NS) Sri Lanka is now experiencing the unprecedented situation where the country’s sitting Chief Justice is being questioned by the CID over his involvement in an alleged coup even as the govt is negotiating a deal where he gets a dipomatic posting in return for stepping down. One would imagine that the interrogation of the Chief Justice could be followed by Attorney General instituting legal proceedings against the CJ, more..

Transport fares slow to follow fuel price cuts

Jan 25 (ST) Consumers are enjoying the drop in fuel prices but transport providers are being either slow or recalcitrant in passing on the benefits to the public. Despite claims that private buses have already reduced charges commuters are yet to gain the benefits while state-run buses are awaiting instructions from the Transport Ministry on a price reduction. Fuel prices were reduced from midnight on Wednesday. The President of the Private Bus Owners’ Association, Gemunu Wijeratne, more..

Committee will draft the RTI Act

Jan 25 (CG) A committee has been appointed to draft the Right To Information (RTI) Act, Media Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka said. He said this while speaking to reporters after visiting Kandy to worship and meet the chief prelates in the sacred city. He said that once the draft document is complete it will be presented to Parliament and approved as promised in the 100 day program of President Maithripala Sirisena. Minister also reiterated a call to the many SL journalists more..

Chief selector unhappy with World Cup preparations

Jan 25 (NS) Sri Lanka chief cricket selector Sanath Jayasuriya is far from happy the way the national team is preparing itself for the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. “I am not very happy the way things are going out there in New Zealand,” Jayasuriya said. “There are areas to be improved and in the next few weeks I hope we can sort them out. I am not 100% happy as there are aspects to improve every day. more..

Sri Lanka incensed at Martin Guptill DRS let-off on LBW call

Jan 25 (Stuff) Sri Lanka's irked cricketers finally got their man after Martin Guptill survived one of the more bizarre, elongated innings in the sixth one-day international in Dunedin. The New Zealand opener looked gone twice, but was saved by a technology failure then a highly dubious third umpire's call, before he was dismissed for 28. Controversial decision review system (DRS) finally got it right third time, when Hot Spot showed Guptill had got an inside edge on a delivery from more..

Banking consolidation comes under heavy fire

Jan 25 (CT) Bigwigs in the banking and the finance companies sector are scheduled to meet Deputy Minister of Policy Planning and Economic Affairs Dr. Harsha de Silva and Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran, claiming that they were made to agree to the previous govt's banking sector consolidation process under heavy duress. Former Board of Investment Chairman Arjuna Mahendran is tipped to take over as Central Bank Governor tomorrow. The need for the bigwigs in the banking sector more..

'Extremism led to Mahinda Rajapaksas defeat'

Jan 25 (Island) Sinhala Buddhist extremism had led to the defeat of Mahinda Rajapaksa at the last Presidential Election, one of his former Ministers said. Former Deputy Foreign Minister Neomal Perera said that the religious minorities feared that if  President Rajapaksa was re-elected for a third term the BBS and other extremists in the UPFA govt, whom he had failed to discipline, would have created more..

Driving tests soon with automatic vehicles

Jan 25 (ST) The next generation of Sri Lankan drivers would soon be licensed after passing tests using automatic transmission vehicles against the standard, ages-old manual gears. Motor Traffic Department (MTD) Commissioner General S.H. Harischandra has granted permission for trial runs on vehicles with automatic transmission and the consequent issue of driving licences. Holder of an ‘automatic’ driving licence will be permitted to drive only auto vehicles and not manual vehicles more..

Ceylinco denies part in EGM brawl

Jan 25 (NS) Ceylinco Insurance PLC has denied any involvement of its directors in the brawl which erupted at the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) held on January 20. The scuffle was reported during the EGM of the company last week. Global Rubber Industries (GRI), a shareholder of the group on Tuesday alleged that Directors of Ceylinco had assaulted some of the shareholders following disagreements on the issue of segregation of its insurance businesses as required by more..

Two years stint for CB governor

Jan 25 (CT) The maiden Cabinet meeting of the Sirisena Administration turned into 'somewhat' a minor stormy session last week when PM Ranil Wickremesinghe proposed the name of Arjuna Mahendran as the Central Bank Governor, who is a foreign passport holder, authoritative sources disclosed. PM Wickremesinghe's proposal met with protest when Minister Rajitha Senaratne, stated that Mahendran was a foreign passport holder. more..

Aston Martin duty waiver

Jan 25 (Island) How did an Aston Martin sports car come into the country duty free a couple of years ago, is a question now evoking official attention. It appears that a duty waiver had been granted, but for what reason nobody knows. Given the huge duties imposed on vehicles in this country, a vehicle such as that would have attracted several million by way of duty under normal circumstances. "Was this duty free import enabled by connections?" is the multi-million rupee question. more..

Tourism and sport road to the international

Jan 25 (CT) Two good gentlemen Navin Dissanayake and Wasantha Senanayake have been appointed by the Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena to the sports ministry as the minister and his deputy respectively. From the inception the Dissanayake humbleness and the caring Senanayake attitudes were seen in the way they spoke of non-political interference towards the federations and sports ministry, and all those now in these places and position would continue regardless. more..

'Executive presidency will remain'

Jan 25 (CT) Chairman of JHU, Athuraliye Rathana Thera, says that Parties must come to a consensus regarding the abolition of the executive President's powers and amending the election system. "Therefore, our priority is constitutional amendment and the establishment of independent commissions". Q: You were a pioneer in the struggle to defeat Rajapaksa regime. You vowed to topple previous regime and did it. What do you think now? more..

Stick to the mandate!

Jan 25 (NS) With the 100-Day program of the Maithripala Sirisena govt now in effect, it has become all about promises -- the ones kept, the ones that need to be kept and the ones that have already been broken. Some pledges, such as the one to limit the Cabinet of Ministers to 25, have already been quietly pushed aside for the sake of ‘convenience’. Meanwhile, after all the rhetoric of ‘Right to Information’ and ‘Media Freedom’ that the Maithri era was supposed to usher in, more..

Reliving November 2003

Jan 25 (Island) In the first two weeks of the new govt, Ravi Karunanayake has managed to deliver at least part of what was promised by reducing the taxes on fuel. This was a very tough call to take. From what we hear, Ravi K had pointedly asked for the finance minister’s post which means that he will not be a finance minister for just 100 days but hopes to continue in the position even after the next parliamentary election. That certainly ups the ante as he fully expects to more..

'We do not encourage privatisation'

Jan 25 (SL) University students have been protesting against privatisation of the education and selling of the university degree and according to them the change of the govt has not helped in revising these educational policies. However, Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam assured that the new govt does not encourage privatisation as such but would make private universities more responsible institutions while protecting more..

Depressing memories of a battered minority

Jan 25 (NS) I am getting a little tired of all the hype of Mahinda Rajapaksa being the worst and most autocratic President of this country. Everyone else has conveniently forgotten J.R Jayewardene the architect of the 1978 Executive Presidency. The all powerful Executive President who could overrule Parliament was created to ensure that the elite UNP could always remain in power. Until then, the UNP had always consistently got over 50% of the votes even though they lost seats in more..

Maithripala’s Watery battle for good governance

Jan 25 (NS) “Where is yahapalanaya (good governance) in the new govt?” Now this seems to be the million dollar question, at this juncture. Two and a half weeks after its election, the new govt, led by President Mathripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, has already shown some ominous signs where the idea of good governance is concerned. It is now becoming clear that those who were really instrumental in forming a Common Opposition Alliance and bringing opposition more..

Ridee Reyak in USA

Make them say 'Yes he can'

Jan 25 (ST) My dear Green Man, Please pardon me for not writing to you earlier because I know I should have — to congratulate you on becoming the PM once again. You are making a habit of this, aren’t you: being the PM when someone else is the Bog Boss? This is now that third time you are doing this! This time though, I hope you last longer in the job. At first, you had to do it with Dearly Beloved after that horrible assassination and it was only a caretaker role. Then you did it while more..

Corruption probes, Sift wheat from chaff

Jan 25 (ST) Among the many comments circulating on social media is one where they say there are two types of people on Facebook nowadays; one set who while walking on the street, trip on a stone and ask, “is this the Yahapalanaya they talk of”, and the other set who find a rupee on the road and say, “here is our money that the Rajapaksas stole from us”. In the immediate aftermath of the defeat of the nine-year Mahinda Rajapaksa regime and the 20 years of UPFA rule, an avalanche of protests more..

'Govt must act regardless of political affiliations'

Jan 25 (SL) With the new developments of political environment where the former members of the govt have been crossing over to the new govt conveniently for political protection or advantages, the JVP as observed by many has taken over role of the opposition. General Secretary of JVP Tilvin Silva said they would bring out facts on corruption and those who have been involved in corruption regardless of their political affiliations. more..

Divided House unites for common good, at least for 100 days

Jan 25 (ST) When Parliament adjourned on Dec 12 last year, after fixing Jan 20, 2015, as the next sitting day, other than a murmur about the impeding presidential election, no one was expecting that, within the course of five weeks, the political fortunes of the UNP which had endured nearly 20 years in the Opposition, would rise so unexpectedly, while a formidable alliance led by political strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa would fall. So, when Parliament met on Tuesday, except for more..

How will the papadam crumble?

Jan 25 (Island) Even before the dust raised by the presidential election and the campaign which preceded it can settle, Sri Lanka will once again be on election mode. We have been promised a parliamentary election within three months and how this will play out must for the time being be an open question. Ordinary people will see the forthcoming election as an extraordinary one. How so? Will the forces that combined to make Maithripala Sirisena the president of this country stay together more..

'Govt's 100-day program: Panacea for all ills'

Jan 25 (SO) Justice and Labour Relations Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe(PC) said that the Govt’s 100- day program will accomplish what the people yearned for more than two to three decades. When the Govt completes the three- month program, we would obtain a huge majority at the general election. He said that with this change, people from every quarter of the country experienced the same feeling more..

Justice must not be denied

Jan 25 (SL) The announcement made by Dr Rajitha Senaratne that immediate investigations will commence on the murders of the founder editor of this paper Lasantha Wickrematunge and legislators Joseph Pararajasingham, Navarajah Raviraj and former minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle is a challenge to the Sri Lanka Police, govt prosecutors as well as the judiciary to ensure that speedy justice is delivered. Speedy justice is something unheard of in Sri Lanka for a long time despite more..

A new era in foreign relations

Jan 25 (SO) Sri Lanka may be an island, but that does not mean that we can live in isolation, cut off from the rest of the world. As a member of the United Nations and the wider international community, we have to be on good terms with the rest of the world. In doing so, we need to engage constructively again with the members of the international community. The new Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has hit the right notes on this score, visiting India and meeting envoys more..

Doctors to be fined Rs. 1 mn for prescribing drugs by brand name

Jan 24 (Island) Doctors who prescribed drugs under brand names would be fined Rs 1 mn after the ratification of the National Medicinal Drug Regulatory Authority Act (MDRA) scheduled to be presented to Parliament next month, Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said. Minister said he would submit the MDRAC with some amendments to the Cabinet for approval on Feb 6 and then to Parliament. In accordance with the provisions more..

Wanduramba OIC reinstated

Jan 24 (NS) Former OIC of the Wanduramba Police, IP Panangala Liyanage Keerthisinghe, who had been given orders to vacate his post, was reinstated yesterday following an appeal made to the IGP. Accordingly, IP Keerthisinghe has been reinstated in his post with effect from yesterday. IP Keerthisinghe had been charge-sheeted for abetting former Deputy Minister Muthuhettigama to take away the suspects arrested for allegedly torching the stage erected for a meeting of common opposition candidate more..

Major Parties split over symbols

Jan 24 (CT) Internal conflicts have arisen in two major political parties over the symbol under which they are going to contest the upcoming Parliamentary Election. Several UNP MPs and few minor parties had requested the UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to contest under the symbol of swan, while majority of the UNP MPs along with the electoral organizers had urged the party leadership to contest under the elephant symbol. However, the party had not taken a final decision on more..

Foreigners barred from gem mining

Jan 24 (CT) Foreign companies will in future not be allowed to mine for gems in Sri Lanka. This follows an order issued yesterday, by President Maithripala Sirisena to the relevant officials. The President had said the govt is not ready to endow the local gem industry to foreign companies and instructed the officials to refuse requests for gem mining. Assuming duties as the Mahaweli Development and Environment Minister at more..

Water Lilies instead of glory Lilies

Jan 24 (CT) Opposition common candidate Maithripala Sirisena won the seventh Presidential election of Sri Lanka with 6,200,000 votes. The major focus of the opposition in the presidential election campaign was good governance, abolition or reduction of the powers of the executive presidency, constitutional reform, reinstating rule of law and establishing a mechanism to punish the corrupt people. However, before a week past the presidential election, people had suspicions more..

‘Palihakkara worse than retd. Maj. Gen.’

Jan 24 (Island) France-based head of Tamil Centre for Human Rights S.V. Kirubaharan has strongly opposed the appointment of one-time Foreign Secretary H.M.G.S. Palihakkara the Governor of the Northern Province. Kirubaharan in an article posted on his website under the caption, Future of Tamils under President Sirisena, Foreign Minister Samaraweera and Northern Governor Palihakkara, has alleged that the life under the former Foreign Secretary would be worse than that of more..

Sri Lanka forex reserves down to US$8.3bn, BOP surplus shrinks

Jan 24 (EN) Sri Lanka's forex reserves fell to 8.3 billion US dollars in November 2014, down from 8.8 billion US dollars in October, amid stronger private and state credit growth, Central Bank data showed as the country looks at a new program with the International Monetary Fund. Sri Lanka's foreign reserves peaked in August at 9.2 billion US dollars amid weak or negative credit growth and has since been falling steadily more..

Dalada Veediya reopening: Malwatte for and Asgiriya against

Jan 24 (Island) The Mahanayake Theras of Malwatte and Asgiriya are divided on the issue of reopening Dalada Veediya which has been closed for the safety of Sri Dalada Maligawa. The Most Venerable Tibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thera said yesterday that Dalada Veediya should be re-opened for vehicular traffic. The Mahanayake Thera said so when Deputy Minister of Mahaweli Development and Environment Wasantha Aluwihare called on him yesterday (23). more..

EU assisted Housing Project in North and East

Jan 24 (AD) The European Union (EU) has initiated a programme for a housing project to resettle people displaced in the North and East and provide them with necessary facilities. Manger of the Infrastructure and Reconstruction programme of the delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Jaime Royo-Olid and Ms. Libuse Soukupova of International Cooperation and Development of EU disclosed the EU assistance during a meeting with the Minister of Resettlement, more..