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A sense of calm prevails in the North

May 18 (Hindu) The hoardings in front of the 50-year-old building housing the District Secretariat read: No to violence and Say no to destruction. Never again. One of them was apparently put up at the time of the presidential election in January. People of the Northern Province, having borne the brunt of the Eelam Wars, seem to have internalised these messages. There is a sense of calm in the region. more..

Skipper Chamari Atapattu back

May 18 (DN) After Sri Lanka Women team’s six-wicket win against the top ranked West Indies women of the first game on Friday, injury-hit skipper Chamari Atapattu will return to the side for the crucial second One Day International of the ICC Women’s Championship, which will be played at the R Premadasa Stadium today. Skipper Atapattu, who was sidelined with hand-injuries, which occurred during a gym session a few days prior to the series, was seen in the net practice yesterday. more..

Foreign affairs management and professional diplomacy

May 18 (Island) Total absence of proper foreign affairs management and professional diplomacy during the past ten years has resulted in our country having to pay a huge price on the world stage. Our non management of the ‘Northern Issue’ also contributed to this situation. For the Tamil Diaspora born out of the program of ’83, spared no pain to malign our country and bring us down. Let us now together work to protect our multi ethnic, multi religious, multi religious nation. more..

Lankan scientists’ innovation may slash import-bill of chemical fertilizer

May 18 (Island) A group of scientists from the IFS have developed a bio-fertilizer which they say can replace up to 50% of chemical fertilizer usage in major commercial cropland; increasing the crop yield by 20-30%, and significantly contributing to reduce the country's chemical fertilizer import-bill. Sri Lanka spends over Rs. 50 billion a year on importation of chemical fertilizers, out of which Rs. 40 billion is borne by the govt as subsidies. more..

NOC to reconsider IOC Scholarships - Priority to Cooray and Rajasekara

May 18 (CT) National Olympic Committee will call a special meeting this week to reconsider the scholarships which have been granted to Sri Lankan athletes targeting next Rio Olympics 2016. This was after numerous media reports highlighted the fact that the two marathoners, Anuradha Cooray and Niluka Rajasekara who are the only ones in the country to have achieved qualification for 2016 Rio Olympic so far, have been overlooked in the said scholarship. more..

Vidullanka adds 8th mini hydro power project; now produces 16.75 MW

May 18 (FT) Vidullanka Plc has completed its eighth mini hydro power project last week, bringing the total renewable energy produced by the Group to 16.75 MW. It said the construction of the 1.75 MW Rideepana Mini Hydro Power Plant in Andeniya, Badulla, was successfully completed and was commission to the national grid on 15 May. The latest project for which an investment of Rs. 20 million was made is owned by Rideepana Hydro Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vidullanka. more..

The beggar’s wound and the Sports Law

May 18 (ST) I remember when I was going to school there was a beggar at the eye hospital roundabout with a bandaged leg infested with flies. Day-in, day-out it was the same – the wound never seemed to get better or never was the leg amputated. But, seemingly the poor man may have made a decent living out of it because almost every human being who passed him parted with at least a five cent coin, which they could afford. more..

DFCC, Vardhana apply to CB for merger

May 18 (FT) DFCC Bank is to merge with its subsidiary DFCC Vardhana Bank (DVB), the two entities said in a joint filing to the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE). The Board of Directors of DFCC and DVB have decided that it would be in the best interests of both banks, its shareholders and other stake holders to amalgamate DFCC and its 99.2%-owned subsidiary, DVB, to continue their activities as a single legal entity, which is a licensed commercial bank. more..

Editorial: A question of justice

May 18 (Island) There has been a mixed reaction to the recent Supreme Court interim order staying the arrest of former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. The Rajapaksa faction of the UPFA is over the moon; it is praising the apex court to high heaven. Minister Sajith Premadasa has said the judiciary is now independent and the govt accepts all its decisions. However, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has not taken kindly to the Supreme Court order preventing Gotabhaya’s arrest. more..

'I told UN probe panel all I knew'

May 18 (CT) Former Norwegian peace facilitator Erik Solheim who said last year that he would reveal information to a UN probe on Sri Lanka's last phase of the war and the white flag issue if he was called to give evidence, admitted that he had indeed stood before the panel and gave evidence. He also said he was ready to share all he knew before any national or international tribunal. Solheim who was also ex-Minister of more..

Heal the private hospitals

May 18 (SL) Despite the beating of drums and blowing of conch-shells about the drastic measures to control pharmaceutical giants, have drugs come down in price? A septuagenarian who consumes about drugs for heart, diabetic and other ailments says that prices, to his knowledge, have not come down. Besides some of the new moves have made matters worse for patients. Doctors who are notorious for illegible prescriptions scribbled brand names which the barely literate pharmacists more..

End this impasse, for the good!

May 18 (SL) There is an urgent need for the Govt to end the current political impasse, and consequent administrative inaction, if the nation has to move, and move fast from the past that it wants to leave behind. There is only one way to get going in the present juncture and environment, and that is going to the people, asap. When the voter wanted President Rajapaksa out, he wanted all vestiges of the war era and in all walks of political and administrative life to change for good. more..

Arjuna pads up to rid corruption

May 18 (NS) Arjuna Ranatunga is the Minister for Ports and Shipping in the Maithripala Sirisena administration. However, he is a renowned cricket star who pioneered Sri Lanka Cricket team to win the World Cup in 1996. Ranatunga said that the previous govt led by Mahinda Rajapaksa had allowed his followers to be corrupt. “As the Top was corrupt, the whole system became corrupt,” he said while stressing that more..

SL’s judiciary & Yahapalanaya contradictions

May 18 (ST) If the issue was not so serious, the more mischievous-minded among us would surely chuckle at the decidedly awkward predicament that the govt has got itself into, on the cusp of a general election no less. Ambitious proclamations that the independence of the SL judiciary has been fully secured, coming hot on the heels of the executive designating a Chief Justice as if he had never been, are now being exposed as simplistic if not dangerously naïve. more..

Has Heaven’s malice granted Jayalalithaa’s political prayers?

May 18 (ST) A sun of hope may have lit the faces of all those who face corruption charges and fear imminent arrest in Lanka, as Tamil Nadu’s former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jeyaram walked free from her prison cell on Monday after a High Court judge acquitted her of all convictions, clearing the way for her return to political power. As lamps were lit in kovils and homes, as coconuts were dashed on Chennai streets, as poojas were made to her posters on sidewalk walls; more..

'Maithripala's stooges can't decide on party unity'

May 18 (SO) UPFA MP Bandula Gunawardane said even after the SLFP's defeat at the last Presidential Election, a large number of MPs, PC and LG members have rallied round the defeated leader Mahinda Rajapaksa. He said the SLFP is more vibrant party today. He emphasised that there is no division within the SLFP. There may be various rifts within a party but at the decisive moment, they will all stand together. more..

Democratising laws & minds

May 18 (CT) In a recent satirical column, American humorist Andy Borowitz reported the discovery of a new strain of fact-resistant humans. “These humans appear to have all the faculties necessary to receive and process information… And yet somehow they have developed defences that, for all intents and purposes, have rendered those facilities totally inactive… As facts have multiplied their defences against those facts have grown more powerful”. Mr. Borowitz is writing about more..

How to solve Wilpattu

May 18 (CT) The JVP has raised concerns about deforestation around Wilpattu National Park. Four environmental organisations have charged Rishard Bathiudeen of complicity. Now guilt isn’t always about direct involvement. People can be indirectly involved. That is why the allegation that he has cleared more than 18,000 acres of forest land throughout three districts is serious. He needs to be investigated. Period. An inquiry would make sense. President Sirisena has called for one. more..

Sri Lanka’s external debt higher than most other countries in Sub Region

May 17 (Island) Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, said that winning the peace, rule of law and better governance were trajectory focus areas, which will be brought about by the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. In addition, human rights, transparency and transcending political differences would cement the climate of political progress for better economic progress. 19th Amendment will improve SL’s image and attract more FDI more..

Urgent repairs to Sigiriya Museum following press expose

May 17 (Island) Japanese-gifted Sigiriya Museum and the Information Centre, considered among the finest in South Asia when it was opened six years ago but which had since been allowed to run down to abysmal depths, it now being repaired and rehabilitated following press exposure of its sorry condition. The work is now about 60% complete and it is hoped to finish it in two more weeks, the Director General of the Central Cultural Fund (CCF), Prof. Prishanta Gunawardhana said. more..

UNP wants Parliament polls soon

May 17 (CG) The UNP today said that Parliament elections must be held soon since the current Govt has gone beyond its term. UNP MP and Minister Karu Jayasuriya said that the Govt was given a mandate to be in office only for 100 days. “We have no right to continue beyond 100 days,” he said. He said that the UNP hopes that at the next cabinet meeting an agreement will be reached on electoral reforms. after which Parliament can be dissolved and fresh elections held. more..

Prime Minister defends acharu govt

May 17 (CG) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe today defended the policies of the coalition govt which some people say is a acharu govt. Speaking at an event in Walapane, PM said that acharu govt has achieved in 100 days what former President Rajapaksa could not achieve in five years. “We have at least reduced the cost of living burden on the people,” he said. PM noted that President Sirisena was elected to power in order to more..

War heroes event by pro-Mahinda faction

May 17 (SO) Former Minister Bandula Gunewardena said the War Heroes Day would be commemorated this year at the Vihara Maha Devi Park in Colombo under the patronage of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. It is convened by the Motherland Organisation which was formed recently with the active participation of politicians, professionals, artistes and intellectuals of all communities irrespective of differences. Motherland Organisation decided to declare the week more..

High-tech CCTV at consular dept

May 17 (SL) High-tech CCTV cameras have been installed at the Consular Department of the Foreign Ministry to monitor the activities of the staff. The CCTV cameras have been connected to the mobile phones of some top Ministry officials to keep a close eye even from outside office. Deputy Minister Ajith Perera said that he can monitor the department using his mobile phone. He said that the CCTV cameras were installed to improve the Consular Department work, security and so ensure more..

Video: SLFP warns President on LG bodies

May 17 (CG) The SLFP today warned President Maithripala Sirisena saying it will go to the next level if he fails to hold elections for the Local Govt (LG) bodies whose terms have now ended. SLFP spokesman Dilan Perera said that while the President had decided to appoint special commissioners to the LG bodies, the SLFP wants elections to be held. The term of LG bodies ended on May 15 and President announced that more..

Two policemen killed in central Sri Lanka

May 17 (Xinhua) Two police officers were killed when a van collided head on with a truck at Ududumbara in Central Sri Lanka on Sunday, police said. Three other police officers traveling in the van were also injured and rushed to the Kandy state hospital. The police officers were attached to the local Galaha Police Station and were returning after attending a funeral when they met with the fatal accident, the officer added. The driver of the truck was arrested and more..

10 Perfect Villas to rent in Sri Lanka

May 17 (YT) There’s never been a better time to visit the tropical island of Sri Lanka, located just off the southern coast of India. The country spent much of the past 30 years in civil war, but, since 2009, when the govt defeated the insurgent Tamil Tigers, the peace has held. Despite its relatively tiny size—Sri Lanka is about the same size as Ireland or West Virginia—the country boasts extraordinary geographic, meteorological and cultural contrasts. A 15-minute walk can take you from more..

Criminal charges against Gota

May 17 (SO) Criminal charges are to be filed against former Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, for flouting govt tender procedure and for the purchase of four MiG 27 Flogger D fighter-bomber aircraft in 2006 at a staggering US$ 14,676,000, for failure of duty and causing loss to the State, in his capacity as the Chief Accounting Officer of the Ministry of Defence. Agreement was entered into, without a performance bond and more..

PM’s remark is a major blow to the independence of the judiciary: Silva

May 17 (AD) PM Ranil Wickramasinghe’s recent remark, concerning the order of the Supreme Court on the former Defence Secretary’s fundamental rights petition, is a major blow to the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law, Opposition Leader and SLFP MP Nimal Siripala de Silva said today. He also pointed out the order, which had been issued with respect to the FR petition that filed to challenge the legality of establishing FCID and to prevent Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s arrest, more..

‘My biggest achievement was winning the trust of my constituents’

May 17 (Island) Until news spread in the media during the run-up to the British general election that Ranil Jayawardena, Conservative Candidate for North East Hampshire, has been racially abused by Robert Blay, a UKIP candidate in the same constituency, not many Sri Lankans in the UK knew that a candidate of Sri Lankan origin was contesting this particular seat. The key focus amongst Sri Lankans, until that point of time, were Chamali Fernando, Conservative candidate for more..

Sri Lanka warns foreign firms against unauthorised gem mining

May 17 (EN) Sri Lanka’s gem mining authority, the National Gem & Jewellery Authority (NGJA), has warned foreign companies against doing gem mining in the island without a license issued by it. “Foreign companies that have minerals exploration licenses which are not issued by the National Gem & Jewellery Authority are not supposed to do any gemstone mining,” said K L D Dayasagara, deputy director general, NGJA. more..

President Sirisena launches National Energy Conservation Month with 4-km road run

May 17 (ST) A campaign on energy conservation was launched with a public event, under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena and Minister Champika Ranawaka, in Colombo. A promotional race Javana Shakti Yatra, first stage of Hetak Venuwen Ratak (A Country for Tomorrow) programme for this year’s National Energy Conservation Month, began at Independence Square yesterday morning. Before the race began, President took the Energy pledge, more..

Sri Lanka to construct Buddhist, Hindu Monastries in Nepal

May 17 (GDI) The Sri Lanka Govt is planning to construct a Buddhist Monastery and a Hindu Monastry in Nepal. A proposal by Buddha Sasana, Public Administration, Local Govt and Democratic Governance Minister Karu Jayasuriya to contribute for the reconstruction of a Buddhist monastery and a Hindu monastery in Nepal following the recent earthquake was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers. Sri Lankan Embassy in Nepal reported that a number of Buddhist monasteries more..

Mixed reaction to move for consumer scales in shops

May 17 (ST) Vendors will face fines if they fail to follow a new mechanism that gives consumers an opportunity to check the weight of purchased items. The fines system will come into effect following an awareness campaign to be carried out during the next three weeks, Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) Chairman of CAA Rumy Marzook said. CAA has issued a gazette notification directing all traders to install from this month, more..

Wele Suda’s brother arrested with heroin

May 17 (AD) An individual, who is said to be the younger brother of well-known drug baron Wele Sudha, has been arrested by the Kohuwala police and found 2 g and 300 mg of heroin in his possession. Acting on a tip-off, the suspect was arrested on Sunday morning, the police Spokesperson said. The police currently interrogate the drug kingpin under a three months detention order on the details on how he managed to carry out drug related operations. more..

Settlers’ response not known

May 17 (CT) Governor of the Eastern Province Austin Fernando said that he was unaware of the responses of the people affected by the judgment issued last Friday by the Supreme Court to suspend the Gazette Notification issued by President Sirisena by which he ceded to the original owners 818 acres of land in Sampur in the Eastern Province. He said this judgment will affect only 137 of the 825 families who are displaced by having lost their homesteads in the Sampur area. more..