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CID instructed not to seize Temple Jumbos

Mar 20 (SL) The CID has been instructed by a high ranking official of the govt, not to take into custody the elephant calves that are being kept illegally at the Colombo Gangaramaya Temple and the Kataragama Temple. Based on the information provided by the CID to court after investigations, the court had granted permission to the CID to take into custody the 15 illegally kept baby elephants. However, while 13 such illegally kept baby elephants have already been taken over by the CID, more..

Sri Lanka’s job market is growing due to the economic upturn

Mar 20 (Island) The job market in Sri Lanka is growing due to the economic upturn and free movement of ideas following the 2015 demand for both white collar and blue collar jobs, says Venkat Iyengar, Head of Business Development, Ever Jobs, Sri Lanka. However, the juxtaposition was that youth unemployment was high, particularly that most young people were looking for govt jobs, he told a news conference in Colombo last week. Interestingly, at another forum, more..

Govt mulls removing Cess on all items except tourism

Mar 20 (ST) In a major step towards tax reforms in Sri Lanka, the govt is mulling the possibility of removing Cess (a special tax) on all items other than on tourism with the aim of promoting exports and helping local industrialists and farmers. Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CEM) has suggested that it is necessary to remove Cess on all items other than tourism. It has been brought to the notice of the CEM that the construction more..

Parliament rejects PRECIFAC probe

Mar 20 (SL) The PRECIFAC has been told not to investigate activities related to Parliament. Sources said that the Parliament Secretary General has sent a letter to PRECIFAC in this regard. PRECIFAC had written to Parliament in January seeking clearance to investigate Parliament activities, including its administration. However, the request had been rejected and PRECIFAC eventually decided to suspend conducting investigations on Parliament. Mismanagement of Parliament activities more..

UNP MP allegedly assaults spectator

Mar 20 (ST) A spectator was assaulted yesterday allegedly by UNP MP Harashana Rajakaruna and persons accompanying him during the Royal-Thomian 50 over Cricket match at the R. Premadasa Stadium, an eyewitness said. He said the incident took place after the spectator taunted the MP, saying the Yahapalanaya (good governance) was not going on well. The spectator suffered injuries to his face and was later taken to the National Hospital for treatment. more..

US$ 101m hack-in heist: Interpol hunts for Shalika Foundation chief

Mar 20 (ST) An international alert is underway to arrest a key director of Shalika Foundation, a Sri Lankan NGO at the heart of a global multimillion dollar money laundering scheme. He is said to be on the run and believed to be in Japan. “We have sought Interpol assistance to trace this person who is believed to be in Japan but may have slipped to another country,” a police said. NGO’s Dehiwala office was raided by the police more..

Yahapalana Deal: Containers from risk countries passed through Green Channel

Mar 20 (SL) Several cargo containers from risk countries, which should have been passed through the red channel for special checking, have instead been passed through the green channel, due to pressure exerted on the Customs personnel by the female coordinating secretary of a powerful minister in the present good governance regime. Already around 20 such containers arriving from risk countries have been sent through the green channel on the coordinating secretary’s instructions. more..

Rift within the SLMC?

Mar 20 (SO) The unexplained absence of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Secretary, M.T. Hassan Ali, has led to speculation of an internal rift within the party, which may lead to the expulsion of the Secretary and Segu Dawood. Former Muslim Congress Colombo District MP Shafeek Rajabdeen said that an explanation would be called from party secretary for his noticeable absence at the SLMC 19th National Convention which was held in Ampara on yesterday, March 19. more..

Power failures deal blackout blow to govt

Mar 20 (ST) It was a week of shocks and aftershocks that jolted the UNF Govt and shattered the high wave of popularity it enjoyed among the people. Main among the issues was last Sunday’s countrywide electricity blackout, the third in just six months. It exposed the govt’s inability to cope with the crisis situation that followed. The public anger against the eight-month old administration was unprecedented. more..

The good and the bad: the former disproportionately minor, but hope kindling

Mar 20 (Island) The TV shots of the ordinary people who ambled to Hyde Park on Thursday, who shouted slogans and gathered there caused disgust in me for the reason that they looked so ferocious with hate written on their faces which was obviously their usual appearance and not produced by any injustice they were shouting about. They were evil parrots, most of them, paid probably with the usual bribe of a packet of rice, some cash and a tot or two, to swell the crowd at the Hyde Park rally more..

Blurring the domestic and foreign

Mar 20 (Island) Earlier this week I sent a compelling new report by the Mercator Capacity Building Centre for Leadership and Advocacy (LEAD) to SL’s Foreign Minister. I picked up an extra copy for him from a workshop in Berlin I attended in February, where the report was co-presented by someone from the German govt and LEAD. It captures an interesting change-management process at the German Federal Foreign Office, tied to radically revising decision making and strategic more..

Eelam groups make plea for Lee

Mar 20 (ST) Sri Lanka is in the middle of a raging controversy at the UN over the world body’s suspension of the media credentials of a US journalist, Matthew Lee of Inner City Press (ICP). He has been advocating the rights of the Tamils in his daily blog. V. Rudrakumar, described as the PM of the transnational govt of Tamil Eelam, has signed a letter, along with six Tamil expatriate organisations asking the UN to restore more..

LG election delay: JVP threatens legal action

Mar 20 (SL) The JVP has warned that it will take legal action if measures are not taken to call for Local Govt elections on schedule. JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake issued the warning after the govt had said that the elections will not be held this year. He also said that the public will be urged to take to the streets and stage protests if the election is not held this year. Meanwhile, the Minister of Provincial Councils & Local Govt, more..

Hambantota, Mattala projects modified

Mar 20 (CT) Govt plans a strategic partnership agreement with Beijing to convert Ruhunu Magampura Port and Mattala Airport into commercially viable ventures. The nucleus of the deal will be signed by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe on behalf of govt during his forthcoming visit to China. Agreement will include a Sino-Lanka Private sector partnership role in making the commercial viability of these projects a reality. more..

SLFP probes party rebels’ criticism

Mar 20 (CT) The SLFP is investigating whether Joint Opposition members criticized the SLFP leadership and the SLFP at their Jana Satana meeting at Hyde Park last Thursday. Top brass of the SLFP and UPFA indicated that disciplinary action against SLFP Parliamentarians who attended the Jana Satana rally would not seriously jeopardise their parliamentary seat despite speculations to the contrary. more..

Interpol help to be sought to probe Sri Lanka link to kidney racket

Mar 20 (IE) The Special Investigation Team (SIT), formed by Anand District Superintendent of Police Ashok Kumar Yadav to probe into the kidney racket of Pandoli village, has fanned across to Delhi and Mumbai to trace the timeline of the alleged organ extractions as well as big fish involved in the racket. Investigators have hinted that it could seek help from the Interpol to probe the link into the kidney extractions carried out in SL, more..

Power crisis heightens: Tough legislation to deal with errant officials, engineers

Mar 20 (Island) With sabotage not being ruled out in the unusual explosions at the Electricity Boards Biyagama and Kotugoda Grid Sub Stations last week, tough new legislation is to be introduced to ensure that officials and engineers are held accountable for the power outages which have increased in frequency over the last one year. Govt sources said that a Bill to be introduced in Parliament shortly comes in the wake of more..

Chamber staff issued gag orders over ETCA?

Mar 20 (SL) Employees of several top-notch business and trade chambers had been issued gag orders against criticizing the proposed Indo-Lanka Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA), it is learnt. “We were strongly advised not to say anything against the adverse effects of ETCA. So we have no option but to toe the line with the current administration. What we are disappointed over is that this undue influence is triggered more..

Multi-ministerial effort to regain GSP plus

Mar 20 (SO) The Foreign Ministry is coordinating a multi-ministerial effort to fulfil criteria to reapply for the European Union’s GSP plus tariff concessions, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maheshini Kolonne said. In repsonse to a query she said, it was difficult to say when Sri Lanka will be ready to apply for the tariff concessions, since more needs to be done to become eligible to submit the application. more..

Power crisis: German experts coming; short-term solution in two weeks

Mar 20 (ST) German experts are due in Sri Lanka tomorrow to inspect some 30 electrical transformers and recommend ways to prevent countrywide power failures during sudden breakdowns. Their main task would be to inspect the transformers that exploded and caught fire at Biyagama and Kotugoda last Sunday and on Friday resulting in power cuts. Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said that the experts would more..

Who will win the battle of the builders: Mittal or locals?

Mar 20 (ST) Cabinet has approved a proposal to build 65,000 houses for war-affected families in the North and East but stopped short of awarding the contract to ArcelorMittal, an international company run by Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal. Further negotiations are to be conducted before a decision is made on the lucrative deal. ArcelorMittal, world’s largest steelmaker, was recommended for the project by a Cabinet more..

Acid attack victim seeks help for medical treatment

Mar 20 (Island) Nuwan Prasad, the victim of an acid attack, seeks financial assistance for follow-up medical treatment after he underwent Re-stage 11 MOOKP surgery in the left eye under general anaesthesia at the Medical Research Foundation Sankara Nethralaya in Chennai, India, on Feb 24, 2016. Earlier, he underwent Lamina assessment. The patient has been under the care of Dr. Geetha Krishnan Iyer, who performed the surgical procedures from time to time since 2014 as more..

Neither whys nor wherefores, let alone solutions, as govt lurches from ....

Mar 20 (Island) To paraphrase the poet (Coleridge), it is crisis, crisis everywhere, but no robust government response anywhere. The economy is in deep trouble and no one is trying to exaggerate the challenges or the consequences of failure. The power system has failed and the consequences have been felt everywhere and more than once or twice. Whether the causes of these crises are current or inherited is immaterial. The people are reasonable enough not to expect instant more..

JEDB Vaxhall street land scam

Mar 20 (CT) A stinking property deal has now surfaced within the Slave Island area over a leasing of 273 perches prime commercial land. Ceylon Today, reported of a Rs 2 billion Janatha Estates Development Board (JEDB) land scam where a 273 perch block of prime commercial land at Vauxhall Street, Colombo 2 was to be leased out at Rs 4 million per perch when the market value was Rs 8 million per perch. more..

A life in science and public affairs

Mar 20 (Island) Robert Bolt’s Man for All Seasons is a gloomy play focussed on intrigue and the three Thomases (Cromwell, More and the fading Wolsey) entanglements leading to the imprisonment and execution of scholar-statesman Thomas More. Bolt depicts England’s parting of ways with the Roman Church in the conventional way, a consequence of Henry VIII’s excessive concupiscence, but in truth more fundamental was the rise of the mercantile classes, financial dependence of monarchy more..

Sithie’s second death anniversary tomorrow

Mar 20 (Island) Sithie Tiruchelvam’s second death anniversary falls tomorrow. An attorney at law, at the time of her death she was the Managing Partner of Tiruchelvam Associates - a leading corporate law firm in Colombo; a Trustee of the Neelan Tiruchelvam Trust - a fund she founder in the memory of her husband, Neelan Tiruchelvam dedicated to the promotion of human rights and pluralism; an indefatigable force in the Friday Forum – SL’s foremost voluntary public advocacy more..

2015 O/L best results holders

Mar 20 (ST) Western Province (WP) students have emerged as top achievers at the 2015 GCE O/L Exam. Nine of the top 12 performers are from the WP. Sathsarani Hettiarachchi- Visakha Vidyalaya, Colombo, came 1st in the island. Samal Punsara- Nalanda College Colombo, came 2nd and Maleena Rathnayake – Devi Balika Vidyalaya Colombo 8 and Indeewari Rathnayaka- Mahamaya Balika Vidyalaya came 3rd. more..

Ex-monk in trouble after posting nude pics of woman who broke off their affair

Mar 20 (ST) A former monk who posed off as a businessman-student studying overseas and started an affair with a private sector employee has been arrested by the Cyber Crime Unit of the CID for allegedly posting obscene pictures of his partner after their affair broke off, Police said. The arrest was made after a complaint was lodged by the victim to the Cyber Crime Unit that personal pictures including nude pictures shared with her former boy friend had been posted on the Facebook more..

Dinesh hits out at USAID seminar on constitutionalism

Mar 20 (ST) Joint opposition MPs are irked over an invitation to attend a USAID-assisted seminar on constitutionalism. Invitations to attend the seminar on March 29 have been sent to all legislators, but Joint Opposition leader Dinesh Gunawardena said such moves did little to increase public confidence in the constitution making process. He asked, “Why is US getting involved in constitution making in Sri Lanka? It’s a domestic process which should be undertaken by Sri Lankans.” more..

No one can topple this govt: PM

Mar 20 (DM) No one will be able to topple this govt prematurely and do not get deceived by false statements made by conspirators, PM Ranil Wickremasinghe said on Saturday. Both the President and the PM were present at the 19th national convention of SLMC in Ampara where they responded to the rally held by the Joint Opposition on March 17, 2016. PM Wickremasinghe who took the opposition on said no one will more..

No one cares for safety

Mar 20 (ST) By their appalling disregard for road rules and lack of common sense Sri Lankans are needlessly putting their lives and the lives of others at great risk on a daily basis. Some do not think twice about hanging precariously from the footboard of moving vehicles, despite the clear risk of death or injury. Yet some others cannot be bothered to use the overhead bridges to cross railway lines to get to adjoining platforms at railway stations. Use of mobile phone by drivers and motorcyclists is illegal. more..

'Govt’s attention focused on preventing chronic kidney disease'

Mar 20 (Island) Minister Sarath Amunugama, who represented the President at a ceremony at the Mahaveli Centre to mark World Kidney Day, said that the govt’s attention is focused on the prevention of the chronic kidney disease and action in this regard is being taken at a national level. He was the chief guest at this event organized by the All Island Kidney Patients’ Association. He also distributed prizes to winners of the first-ever soft ball cricket match between teams more..

Technical issues ground Air Force’s Helitours flights

Mar 20 (ST) Helitours, Air Force’s domestic air service, has suspended scheduled flights due to technical issues with its aircraft. Operations were stopped a week ago and no date had been given for their resumption. Helitours is the only service that offered scheduled flights to Jaffna after having edged other operators out of business with lower prices. Helitours had been operating scheduled flights with two Chinese-built more..

MoD crackdown on underworld in swing

Mar 20 (CT) Intelligence units coming under the purview of the Ministry of Defence has uncovered that many underworld figures that had left the country under the previous regime had returned and are currently engaging in their profession big time. A special Police team had recently nabbed an underworld figure who had returned after a nine-year lay off and had been supplying arms to a group of gangsters. The intelligence units have uncovered information that the underworld figure, more..

World T20: South Africa beat Afghanistan

Mar 20 (CI) An unconvincing South Africa survived a spirited Afghanistan chase to defend a 200-plus score and get their World Twenty20 campaign back on track. In the absence of Dale Steyn, who was left out for tactical reasons, Chris Morris and Imran Tahir squeezed through the middle period to ensure AB de Villiers' quickfire 64 was not in vain. Afghanistan's second loss means their chances of progressing to the knockouts are all but over, but they have showed their promise. more..

2 victims identified, DNA tests on three corpses while police interrogate suspects

Mar 20 (ST) Authorities are still working to identify three of the five persons found murdered in Koshenawatta, Dankotuwa on March 11. Accordingly, DNA tests on the remaining bodies will be conducted next week. Meanwhile, five suspects arrested by CID in connection with the alleged murders were produced before the Marawila Magistrate and District Judge on Friday, who remanded them until March 30. more..

JVP plays down large crowd seen at joint opposition rally

Mar 20 (CG) JVP played down the large crowd seen at the joint opposition rally held in Colombo last week. JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva said that the rally was staged at the Hyde Park in Colombo which he says is a small ground which can accommodate only a small number of people. He said that the joint opposition is attempting to give the impression that a large crowd attended the rally when in reality the crowd which filled the venue was small since the venue is small. more..

German specialists to assist probe into transformer explosions

Mar 20 (AD) German specialists are expected to arrive in the country tomorrow (21) to look into the recent explosions in several transformers belonging to the CEB. Sulakshana Jayawardana, Director (Development) at the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy, stated that two specialists from the company that manufactured the transformers will arrive in Sri Lanka. An explosion had occurred in one of the transformers at the Biayagama substation last Sunday while more..

Stealing was main policy and philosophy of former govt: Chandrika

Mar 20 (AD) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga says that stealing was the main policy and philosophy of the previous govt under Mahinda Rajapaksa and conceded that corrupt individuals still occupy certain sections of the incumbent administration. “There are still thieves in certain sections of even this govt. I won’t say no.” However, unlike the previous govt stealing is not the main policy and philosophy of this govt more..

New Asgiriya Mahanayake to be selected on April 7

Mar 20 (AD) The new Mahanayake Thera (Chief Prelate) of the Asgiriya Chapter of the Siam Sect is to be selected on April 7, 2016. The election will be held at around 4pm and will decide a successor to the late Most Venerable Galagama Dhammasiddi Sri Dhammananda Attadassi Thera, who passed away on March 9. He passed away after being admitted to the Kandy Hospital the same day in an unconscious state due to an accidental fall. Most Ven. Rajakeeya Panditha Galagama Dhammasiddhi more..