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Video: Couples barred from entering Colombo Independence Square

Mar 5 (AM) A video shared on social media shows several security officers at the Independence Square in Colombo arguing with a couple in an attempt to evict them from its premises. "Me and my girlfriend were just sitting and chilling at Independence square and these idiots came and said that it was culturally wrong for a male and female to sit together at a public space. According to these idiots we have to have a child with us to sit together at independence square. more..

OfERR wants new Lankan constitution to facilitate return of refugees

Mar 5 (ENS) S.C. Chandrahasan of the Organization for Eelam Refugees Rehabilitation (OfERR), and S. Sooriyakumary of the Organization for Elankai Refugees Rehabilitation (OfERR CEYLON), want the new Sri Lankan constitution to have provisions to facilitate the return of Lankan Tamil refugees who had fled the country during the 30 year war. They made this submission before SL govt’s Public Representation Committee. 64,208 Lankan Tamil refugees living in camps in Tamil Nadu more..

A story about a frequent visitor to neglected circuit bungalows

Mar 5 (DM) Second in command in yahapalanaya recently paid an official visit to the South to take stock of the ongoing development activity in the province. During the visit, purohitas and Diyawanna members from the South who accorded him a warm welcome updated him on the development activity underway from Matara to Kataragama. During this conference, a purohita from Hambantota district brought to the attention more..

Alleged Lankan people smuggler sentenced

Mar 5 (AAP) A Sri Lankan people smuggler who helped organise the boat on which Australian officials allegedly paid crew more than $US30,000 to turn back from New Zealand has been sentenced to five and a half years. Kugan, also known as Vishvanathan Thineshkumar, was described by prosecutors as the mastermind behind the failed journey on which 65 asylum seekers boarded a boat bound for New Zealand in May last year. During the voyage, the boat's crew claim they were more..

Chief of Staff for parliament

Mar 5 (DM) A new post of Chief of Staff has been created in Parliament for the first time in its history with Deputy Secretary General Neil Iddawala being appointed to this post. Cabinet has approved the creation of the new post when it met on Wednesday with PM presenting a paper on behalf of Speaker Karu Jayasuriya. Mr. Iddawala said the Cabinet had created the post in line with accepted procedure. He said he would most probably be in charge of coordinating the staff though a job description more..

I want to clear my name: SF

Mar 5 (NS) Minister Sarath Fonseka last week said he was welcome for international involvement on war crimes allegations during the final stages of the conflict, provided they come in on an advisory level. He said having international advisers as supervisors would help Sri Lanka to justify the manner in which investigations were carried out since these allegations were mainly levelled by international community and organizations. more..

Tel tales…

Mar 5 (NS) A young green legislator from the South completely left out from all ministerial type slots is reported to be conducting regular poojas at a well-known Temple in Matara seeking justice from the Gods to change the mind of his leader who is hostile towards him to get even junior ministerial portfolio, a bird standing on the Matara Bridge whispered to another. This pint sized politico claims he has done much service to the southerners than others who held and hold top ministerial positions. more..

Writ filed demanding Welikada report

Mar 5 (NS) A writ of mandamus will be filed in the Court of Appeal next week demanding the release of the report by the Committee of Inquiry into the Prison Incident 2012 (CIPI). The writ will be filed by the People’s Collective Against the Killing of Prisoners, Inmates and Detainees of the Welikada Prison and the petitioners will include the trio of former political prisoner and eyewitness to the Welikada Prison massacre in 2012 and Convener of the People’s Collective Against more..

Sri Lanka seeks bigger Haj quota this year

Mar 5 (AN) Sri Lanka has sought an increased Haj quota for the forthcoming Haj pilgrimage during a meeting between Haj Minister Bandar Hajjar and visiting Minister M.H.A. Haleem in Jeddah on Thursday. Haleem, who is leading a five-member delegation on an official invitation from the Saudi govt, also met various govt and private sector officials connected with Sri Lankan Haj operations in Makkah and Madinah. more..

Left Centre demands apology from Kiriella

Mar 5 (DN) Higher Education and Highways Minister Lakshman Kiriella is unfit to hold a ministerial portfolio unless he apologises over the controversial letter sent by him and the way he reacted to a question by a journalist over the matter, the Left Centre emphasised. Addressing a press conference, Co-Convener of the Left Centre and former lecturer at the University of Peradeniya Dr. Michael Fernando said the reaction of the minister to the media is uncivilised and indecent. more..

Former Agriculture Minister summoned

Mar 5 (DN) Parliamentarian and former Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena has been summoned to appear before the PRECIAFAC on March 10. He is to record a statement concerning investigations into several alleged frauds involving several millions of rupees which had occurred at the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agricultural Training and Research Institute and misuse of state resources during the Southern Provincial Council election held under the tenure of the previous regime. more..

President promises school admission to boy shunned for having AIDS

Mar 5 (ENS) There is a glimmer of hope for Chandani de Soyza, whose 5-year-old son, Rehan Dilshara, is unable to get admission in any school in her native Kuliyapitiya because of an unfounded and persistent rumor that he has AIDS. After the media turned the spotlight on Chandani’s plight, and she filed a Fundamental Rights petition in SC, President Sirisena called her to assure her that he will put Dilshara in a school. more..

NEC gets tough with candidates over non declaration of assets and liabilities

Mar 5 (Island) The National Elections Commission will take legal action against politicians who contested the August 17 General Election, but have not declared their assets and liabilities. Chairman of the NEC Mahinda Deshapriya said the deadline was March 31. "We gave a grace period to them, but a few have not yet declared their assets," he said adding that they would hand over a list of candidates who did not declare their assets for legal action after March 31. He said the fine for the charge of more..

Forging VC’s signature: Assistant lecturer let off with fine on humanitarian grounds

Mar 5 (Island) Colombo High Court Judge, Manilal Waidyathilake considering the appeal for mercy made by a serious kidney patient and fined him Rs. 5000 instead of imposing a prison term of up to five years hard labour. Convict Priyantha Jayamha, an assistant lecturer of Peradeniya University, pleaded guilty to having forged a certificate which falsely indicated that he had two degrees from the Peradeniya Un iversity. One is in psychiatry and the other in veterinary science. more..

Sri Lanka hopes to keep budget deficit to 5.4% of GDP with new taxes

Mar 5 (EN) Sri Lanka hopes to stabilize the economy and trim the budget deficit to 5.4% of gross domestic product by hiking sales taxes and suspending for one year income tax cuts proposed in a budget for 2016. In a budget for 2016, deficit was planned at 740 billion rupees (5.9% of GDP) but there was doubts over the target, after a 499 billion deficit planned for 2015 deteriorated to 690 billion rupees in 11 months. more..

Counting the cost

Mar 6 (SO) From 2005 to 2015, the country resounded with brazenly duplicitous governmental pronouncements: peace was promised through all-out war, honour was assured as a result of this war, the war itself was declared humanitarian and finally, the terrible human toll was denied until satellite photography revealed the bloody truth. Meanwhile, even as the north-east tragedy proceeded, the rest of the country raved over a beautification of a single city even as other cities & country's villages more..

Save our noble beast

Mar 6 (SL) The story of an elephant calf standing by his dying mother, injured by man-made explosives and refusing to move away was a tragic story as moving as that of humans and even more. Reports last week said that the mother elephant, said to be about 25-years-old, had been injured by a Hakka Patas - the crude kind of explosive used by villagers to scare away elephants – was lying prostrate near a village in the jungles of Horowpathana while a seven-year-old calf had stood by its more..

Street smart

Mar 6 (SO) Once upon a time it was Sri Lanka’s snob street. No buses, no traffic lights, no traffic jams. Home to high end shops, clubs, restaurants, massage parlours, casinos and exclusive hangout joints, it had flair, it had swagger, it had style, and most of all it had attitude. It had a prosaic name – R.A. De Mel Mawatha – but everyone knew it as Duplication Road. It is still called R.A. De Mel Mawatha/Duplication more..

Replicating foreign policy models, no answer

Mar 6 (CT) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a sacrilegious move, is now attempting to emulate the Singaporean model as the role model for its future operations. It was President J.R. Jayewardene who requested his then Foreign Ministry Secretary W.T. Jayasinghe, a veteran of the now defunct Ceylon Civil Service, to answer questions relating to the affairs of SL administration to then Deputy PM of Singapore, which Jayasinghe had once described, as an absolutely humiliating experience. more..

Muddling along

Mar 6 (Island) Yesterday’s newspapers had many reports of govt considering various measures, including tax reforms, to increase its revenue. One report had it that the capital gains tax will be reintroduced. What the eventual outcome will be is likely to be revealed in the short term – probably the next few weeks. It is widely known that the govt is woefully cash-strapped and is looking at an IMF bailout. There are conditions attached to the grant of such facilities and the medicine prescribed more..

'We must get access to huge market in India'

Mar 6 (SL) Minister Harin Fernando said govt is on track with development goals and the results of the govt’s efforts will be felt by April or May this year. He said that as a result of the discussions held with the heads of the countries that President Maithripala Sirisena has visited so far, the outcome was positive and these countries had pledged their support for the projects envisaged by the govt. He said that with regard to the theories being more..

Fertilizer subsidy; IMF and new agri-culture

Mar 6 (ST) The price of fertilizer may not interest most except that it will affect rice, fruit and vegetable production and therefore hit their stomachs at some stage. Vegetable farmers in Bandarawela, Welimada, Keppetipola in the central highlands and Hambantota in the south, worst hit by a shortage and paddy cultivators in the North Central and North Western provinces were out on the streets protesting the Govt’s new measures aimed at cutting the fertilizer subsidy without wanting more..

Gone are the days

Mar 6 (ST) My Dear Lucky, I hope you don’t mind me writing a letter to you at a time when everyone is concerned about the kind of letters you write and the whole country is talking about them. Anyway, you haven’t been attracting this kind of attention for a while and it is high time they took notice of you now, don’t you think? I suppose few people would have imagined that you would reach such dizzy heights when you first entered the House by the Diyawanna Oya more than 25 years ago. more..

JVP press conference

MS takes control of SLFP as MR group retreats

Mar 6 (SO) The SLFP, which was on the verge of a major split a few weeks ago, is now swiftly consolidating its position in the country’s political sphere ahead of a crucial elections to local govt bodies. Although the formation of a new political party by party rebels is not an impossibility even at this juncture, the SLFP has at least managed to prevent a sizable proportion of party MPs from breaking away from the blue camp. The SLFP, led by President Maithripala Sirisena, had to more..

How strong are we on women’s rights?

Mar 6 (SO) This cat is very concerned about women as she considers this half of the human race the more admirable; the more to be admired and thus respected. Yet there is seen greater discrimination against women even in these times of UN's several conventions on women’s rights including the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and their Women’s Charter; and the SL Charter. March 8 is designated International Women’s Day and Nov 25 Int'l Day for Elimination of Violence more..

Dilshan wants to bowl more

Mar 6 (CT) SL's most senior player in the team, Thilakaratne Dilshan, said the team is not utilizing him fully in recent times and he is going to discuss the matter with his coach and captain, and will ask to get more service out of him in order to improve the team balance. The all rounder, who finally converted his start for a 56 balls 75 on Friday against Pakistan in their final match in the Asia Cup, said he only bowled 2 overs for entire series more..

The Economy: Chickens come home to roost

Mar 6 (Island) Last Friday, for the first time since the present govt assumed office, a special cabinet meeting was held to discuss the economic situation and a proposal to increase taxes. No official statement has yet been given out about the decisions made at that cabinet meeting or whether a final decision was arrived at all. However news that has leaked out to the press indicates that the govt intends increasing the Value Added Tax from the present 11% to 15%. more..

How Miris continues to be a red hot topic

Mar 6 (SL) Despite continuous warnings to the Export Development Board (EDB) by the Australian government that chillie paste exported to Australia from Sri Lanka contains harmful chemicals, questions have been raised as to why the authorities concerned continue to import red chillies from India. As Sri Lanka does not produce the country’s entire requirement, red chillies have been imported from India over the past several years. According to reports, it is these red chillies that more..

Cabinet rejects Lee’s Temasek model

Mar 6 (CT) 26 new SLFP District and Electoral Organizers were appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena earlier last week, replacing those known to be highly vociferous govt critics and wishing to form a new political party posing a possible threat of splitting the party. Among those overlooked in the appointments were MP Prasanna Ranatunga, former Western Province Chief Minister and Minuwangoda SLFP organizer; more..

Hooligan Joes muck Peterite party

Mar 6 (SO) Unruly supporters of St Joseph’s College behaving like hooligans unbecoming of their school’s disciplinary image ruined their much hyped about big match cricket encounter against traditional rival St.Peter’s College who were deprived of a well deserved victory on the field in the 82nd Battle of the Saints at the P Sara Oval in Colombo yesterday. A genuinely concerned rector of St. Joseph’s College, Rev Fr Travis Gabriel subsequently awarded the win to St. Peter’s College. more..

All hope not lost for Sri Lanka

Mar 6 (Island) Just seven weeks ago, Sri Lanka were ranked number one in T-20 cricket. However, series losses to New Zealand, India and a dismal showing in the Asia Cup have now pushed them to seventh position in ICC Rankings. Sri Lanka are the defending champions of the World T-20, but there’s hardly any optimism among fans given their struggles during the Asia Cup where they managed just one win over lowly UAE. However, all hope is not lost for Sri Lankans in the World T-20 and more..

Champika admitted he knocked down Sampath

Mar 6 (CT) The alleged involvement of Minister Champika Ranawaka, in an accident on Sunday (28), has become a hotly debated topic in political and media circles. On the day in question, a vehicle belonging to Minister Ranawaka was allegedly involved in an accident with a motorcycle, injuring two riders. Sandeep Sampath, a resident of Meegoda, received serious injuries to his head and is at ICU of Colombo National Hospital. more..

Five Meet records established

Mar 6 (CT) Five meet records - Long Jump U-11, U-19 Boys, High Jump U-20 Girls, 200m U-13 Boys and 4 x 100m Relay U-20 Girls - were registered on the second day of the International School Athletic Championship worked off at Rajapaksa Stadium Diyagama yesterday. Gateway College Colombo U-20 Girls athletes Shanika Fernando, Shaunalie De Silva Wijeyeratne, Deushi Hettiarachchi and Hansani Liyanaarachchi produced the best performance when they set a new record more..

Real Star SMS cost Air Force millions

Mar 6 (SL) The CID has received several complaints regarding the bodyguard of former President Rajapaksa. CID sources said that complaints have been received against retired Major Nevil Wanniarachchi alleging he had misused the powers he had when Rajapaksa was President. Major Wanniarachchi had participated in every foreign tour of the former President during his tenure. The report further reveals that two sets of air-conditioners worth over 7 million rupees have been kept unused more..

Seylan in merger talks with NDB

Mar 6 (ST) National Development Bank (NDB) would hopefully be third time lucky in trying to find a bride. This time it has proposed to Seylan Bank and initiated discussions on a possible merger, officials involved in the process, said. NDB which holds 10% stock in Seylan has initiated this discussion some months ago, according to them. “These are at very preliminary stages and we’d like to see where this goes,” NDB official said. more..

Sri Lankan guards not first choice

Mar 6 (TS) Home Minis­try ruling to allow security guards from Sri Lanka to work in the country has been cautiously welcomed by the local security industry. Key players said a new market was always better but Sri Lanka was not their first choice as other pressing matters choking the industry needed to be addressed first. Security Services Association of Malaysia (PPKKM) adviser Datuk Seri Shaheen Mirza Habib said the Imm­i­gration Department’s crackdown on illegal immigrants working as more..

CT Holdings buys out Singapore partner in condominium deal

Mar 6 (Island) CT Properties Ltd., a subsidiary of CT Holdings PLC (previously Ceylon Theatres) have taken full control of Keppel CT Development (Pvt) Ltd. (KCT) planning a Rs. 7 billion condominium development on a 1.25 acre site on George. R. de Silva Mawatha in the North of Colombo by buying out its joint venture partner, Keppel Land Ltd. of Singapore, for Rs. 550 million. Keppel held a 60% stake in the development company with CT Properties holding a minority 40%. more..

Mendis, Kaluperuma and Aravinda to prop SLC’s sagging fortunes

Mar 6 (ST) By the time the defense ICC T-20 World title is done and dusted by the end of March, it is likely that cricket’s on field management will see some new titles added to some old war horses. Most of these changes are likely to be from the Lankan team’s preparations for the forthcoming tour of England in June this year. Initially when the renewal/naming of the selection from April this year, it is said that more..

Need to reverse trend: Biz community

Mar 6 (SO) The business community raising concerns over the recent down rating of Sri Lanka by Fitch, stressed the need to address areas of the economy urgently to reverse the status if the country is to improve its competitive standing in the region. Partner Gajma and Company, N.R. Gajendran said at a time the country is going through a transition such a rating is not surprising and added an enabling environment has to be created for investments and driving economic growth. more..