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Video: Thajudeen case: CID given two more months for report

Mar 23 (DM) Colombo Additional Magistrate Nishantha Peiris today gave two more months for the CID to submit a proper further report over the progress of the inquiry into the murder of Wasim Thajudeen. Submiting a further report over the investigation conducted into Thajudeen’s murder, SSC Dilan Ratnayake who appeared for the AG told court that CID needs two more months to submit a proper further report. more..

Hasan Ali calls for amendments to SLMC constitution

Mar 23 (DN) Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) General Secretary M.T. Hasan Ali yesterday reiterated that he did not make any statement calling for the ouster of SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem from the party "What I stressed was to have amendments to the present constitution which would prevent the party from becoming a dictatorship," he said. He said that he did not hatch any conspiracy to oust the party leadership. more..

Mahela urges radical restructuring

Mar 23 (DM) With Sri Lanka’s hopes for a semi-final spot hanging on a thread with two-must win games remaining against high-riding England and South Africa in the Group 1, former Sri Lanka batting great Mahela Jayawardena urged Sri Lanka Cricket authorities to introduce a radical restructuring of the game at domestic level to bridge the ever-widening gap between the domestic standard and international standard. more..

Stealing bread from the poor?

Mar 23 (CT) The cost of bread just went up by another 7.5% or thereabouts from Monday. Consumer price hikes are masquerading as VAT, profits taxes and what-have-you. This followed Prima pushing up the price of a kilo of wheat flour by Rs 7.20 to pass on the government imposed tax on wheat grain imports last week. We're playing around with phrases to do with Value Added Tax, profits taxes here. The current fact is that global prices for wheat are falling drastically as more..

Occupy the square & Colombo’s coffee shop liberals

Mar 23 (CT) Gihan De Chickera in his analysis published last week on the Daily Mirror puts forth an argument on the class dynamics of the recently held protest, for the lack of any other term, at Independance Square. He brings to discourse a valid point on the class dynamic of the protesters and how it panned out during the protest. Only, he stops short. He stops short of unveiling the hypocrisy of the protest, the protesters and the symbolism that is projected through more..

Stealing from the Poor

Shares retreat amid foreign fund outflows

Mar 23 (Reuters) Shares ended weaker on Wednesday, slipping from a near three-week high hit in the previous session, as foreign investors exited risk assets amid concerns over the country's economic growth and rising bond yields. Sri Lanka's economy is expected to grow 5.3% in 2016, but analysts say tight monetary and fiscal policies may curb growth. The $82.2-billion economy expanded at a sluggish 2.5% in the December quarter. The benchmark share index, which gained 0.3% more..

Artist assaulted

Mar 23 (Island) Well known artist Rohan Amarasinghe (63) who was holding a one-man protest opposite the University of Visual and Performing Arts, Colombo-07 against the acquisition of part of the National Art Gallery for expanding the John de Silva Theatre was assaulted by a lecturer of the institution yesterday noon. Amarasinghe told The Island that he was in a state of shock following the attack and his spectacles had been broken. The veteran artist said: more..

Video: Leak in two pipelines of Victoria power plant

Mar 23 (DM) A leak has been reported in two of the three main pipelines carrying water to the Victoria hydro power plant turbines, officials said today. A senior official said they believed that the pipe had sprung a leak because of the intense heat prevailing during the day. He said this was a normal occurrence during hot weather season. “We believe that this leak was the result of the intense heat expanding the pipelines. more..

Land in the North needed for security will not be returned

Mar 23 (CG) The Govt says land in the North needed for security will not be returned to the owners. Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi said that land in some areas in the North are required by the military for security reasons. He said that those lands will not be released but the owners will be compensated by being paid more than the actual land value. The Defence Secretary expressed these views at a press briefing in Colombo today. more..

Sri Lanka beefs up security at airport following Brussels terror attacks

Mar 23 (Xinhua) Security was tightened at BIA on Wednesday following the terrorist attacks at the Brussels Airport a day earlier, local media reports said. Airport officials, quoted in media reports said that safety precautions had been taken to prevent any terror attack on the island's airport, following a series of explosions at Brussels airport and a metro station close to the European Union institutions on Tuesday which killed at least 34 people and injured many others. more..

Video: Zonal school sports meets postponed due to hot weather

Mar 23 (AD) Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam says that all zonal-level school sports meets scheduled to be held in March have been postponed till May due to warm weather conditions prevailing in the country. The Ministry of Education decided to hold the zonal sports meets within the educational system during the end of May or the beginning of April due to the extremely hot weather conditions being experienced in the country. more..

1,000 on death row

Mar 23 (Island) Number of prisoners on death row is around 1,000 and of them 600 have appealed for clemency, Commissioner General of Prisons, Nishan Dhanasinghe says. He said there was a need to increase the number of cells at most of the prisons as the prisoner population continued to increase. "Among the condemned prisoners are 30 women," he said. Majority of them on death row were those found guilty of drug related charges and murders and they were being kept at more..

No bail for Pillayan, remanded until April 6

Mar 23 (AD) Former Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan, who was arrested in connection with the murder of ex-MP Joseph Pararajasingham, has been further remanded until April 6. The suspect was further remanded after being produced before the Batticaloa Magistrate today. Pillayan was arrested on Oct 11, 2015 when he arrived at the CID to give a statement in connection with the assassination of the late Tamil politician, who was shot dead more..

Sri Lanka's airline unable to repay $1 bn debt: PM

Mar 23 (AFP) Sri Lanka's loss-making national carrier will not be able to repay its debt of nearly $1 billion, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe told parliament. With its own finances in a rocky state, the govt will decide within six weeks whether it can afford to take over SriLankan Airlines' debt repayments, he said. Minister Kabir Hashim, who oversees the carrier, earlier this month put its debt at $933 million but on Wednesday more..

Mother sees her only child killed by bus on pedestrian crossing

Mar 23 (Island) An 11-year-old schoolboy was killed on a zebra-crossing before the eyes of his mother as a speeding SLTB bus knocked him in Godagama on Monday. The victim was identified as Meraj Menuin of No. 524, Highlevel Road, Godagama, Homagama. A student of an international school, he was coming home after school. School van transporting the student from the school dropped him at the Godagama Junction and the chaperone was taking the student across the road on more..

President participates in Sadaham Yathra

Mar 23 (PSL) The Dhamma Sermon for Medin Full Moon Poya Day of the series of Sadaham Yathra Damma Sermon was held at the Vijayaba Piriven Temple in Ambagamuwa, Nuwara Eliya was held today (22) with participation of President Maithripala Sirisena. The Damma Sermon was delivered by the Chief Incumbent of Rajamaha Viharaya in Mathurava, Director of Sri Dharmagnana Dharmayathana Maha Pirivena Ven. Ginnaliye Rathanasara Thero. more..

MR’s life in danger: Joint opposition

Mar 23 (DM) The joint opposition said former president Rajapaksa’s life is in danger and the government must take responsibility if anything untoward happened to him. SLFP MP Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said the govt had neither allocated a cent to the repairing of Mr. Rajapaksa’s bullet-proof vehicle that met with an accident several months ago nor had he be allocated an official residence even after 14 months. more..

Sicille remanded till 30 March

Mar 23 (DN) Colombo Chief Magistrate today ordered that former Ceylinco Chairman Lalith Kotelawala's wife Sicille Kotelawala be remanded till 30 March in connection with the Ceylinco F&G case. The suspect is currently undergoing treatment at Colombo National Hospital under the protection of prison authorities. It was alleged that the seven Directors of the company including former Ceylinco Chairman Lalith Kotelawala had defrauding the depositors of F&G Property developers more..

High temperatures to continue

Mar 23 (Island) The Meteorology Department yesterday said the present high temperature being experienced in different parts of the country might continue till the end of April. Duty Meteorologist Chathuska Premachandra told The Island that the weather phenomenon across the country was in a transitory phase. While dismissing the high temperature as an El-nino condition, she said, "Usually around this time of the year, Sri Lanka is in the transition period. more..

No discussions with India over building sea-bridge: PM

Mar 23 (PTI) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe today said Sri Lanka and India have not held any talks on building a sea-bridge and tunnel connecting two countries. He was responding to a question by the opposition MP Udaya Gammanpila in parliament. Gammanpila said the Indian Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari had announced in Indian parliament (Lok Sabha) a plan to construct the bridge. more..

Sri Lanka plans US$1bn currency swap with China: PM

Mar 23 (EN) Sri Lanka is planning a US$ 1 billion currency swap with China Central Bank, which will help ease foreign currency problems in the country, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe told parliament. India has given a US$ 700 million swap until a deal with the IMF is signed and has also given another US$ 400 million for three months through separate swap facility for South Asian countries. In Sept 2014 the People Bank of China signed a swap deal with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka under which more..

Reveal MPs with liquor permits

Mar 23 (CT) Hela Bodu Saviya (HBS) has requested Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to reveal to the country the names of MPs who own liquor shops, President of the Organization Venerable Kotugoda Jinawansha Thera said. Quoting news reports he said about 100 MPs are owners of taverns. It is unfortunate that there is a group of parliamentarians who are earning profits in a manner that is against basic norms of morals and ethics. Therefore we have requested the Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to reveal more..

14 OICs transferred

Mar 23 (DM) Fourteen Officers In-Charge of Police (OIC) including five Chief Inspectors and nine Inspectors have been transferred with immediate effect based on service requirements. CI W.M.D.K. Abeysiri of the FCID was among the five Chief Inspectors who were transferred. CI Abeysiri has been appointed as the OIC of the Norwood while OIC of the Norwood IP D.A.C. Wijesinghe has been transferred as the Chillaw OIC. more..

Gratiaen Prize shortlist out on April 04

Mar 23 (Island) The shortlist for the Gratiaen Prize 2015 will be announced at an event on Monday April 4, at 6.00pm at the British Council Library. All are invited to attend the announcement and listen to the reading of excerpts from the shortlisted entries. The Gratiaen Prize was founded in 1993 by SL-born writer Michael Ondaatje after he won the Booker Prize for The English Patient. The Gratiaen Prize 2015 is the first to be presented under the Gratiaen Trust’s new partnership more..

'No hike in telephone charges despite VAT'

Mar 23 (AD) There will not be any increase in telephone tariffs following the proposed tax amendments by the govt, said SLT Chairman Kumarasinghe Sirisena. He pointed out that neither the Finance Ministry nor the govt has made any directives in this regard when Ada Derana inquired whether there would be any tariff hikes on telephone charges after 1 April 2016 following the proposed tax amendments. He further added, “Up to now there has been no official intimation whether more..

Sri Lanka says to seek China's assistance in power sector

Mar 23 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka is to seek assistance and support from China to operate the country's main power plant, a deputy minister said here on Wednesday. Deputy Minister of Power and Energy Ajith Perera told Xinhua that the government would soon discuss the matter with China. Sri Lankan's power sector has been facing a crisis in recent months with three nationwide power failures reported since September last year. more..

Harrison questions Dhammaloka Thera’s delay in complaining of foul play

Mar 23 (Island) Minister P. Harrison questioned why Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera had not complained to the CID if the latter had suspicions about the death of Ven Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera, who played a key role in the defeat of former President Rajapaksa at the presidential election last year. Minister said the CID should launch an investigation into the statement made by the Thera. Harrison said: "It defies comprehension why Ven. Dhammaloka has waited all these months more..

Brussels attack must be condemned by the entire world: President

Mar 23 (GDI) Terrorist attack, which shook Brussels was in the international lime light during the last 24hrs and was rejected by global leaders as well as peace loving people. President Maithripala Sirisena was among the global leaders who extended their sympathy to the families of those who died from this attack. In a message to the King Phillippe of Belgium, he conveyed the sympathies of the people and the govt of Sri Lanka to the victims of this attack. more..

Weaknesses of the electricity lines caused blackout: Minister

Mar 23 (DM) Weaknesses of the electricity lines have been the cause of the recent countrywide blackout, Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya informed Parliament today. He said, "A transformer at Biyagama transmission station had tripped at 2.20 pm resulting the breakdown of the Norochcholai Power Plant which generates 900 Mw of electricity. The remaining transmission lines had not had the capacity to transmit this load. more..

New constitution & religious freedom

Mar 24 (CT) In his set of proposals for a new constitution, Dr. Laksiri Fernando has rightly pointed out the need to include fundamental rights in a much more comprehensive manner. However, in the area of religious freedoms he seems to go overboard by proposing an additional constitutional guarantee which says that "No one should be prohibited or discriminated for wearing attire by one’s own religion or belief." While I have no quarrel in assuring freedom to believe and more..

ETCA: A different perspective

Mar 24 (CT) One of the topics currently under intense debate and discussion in the public domain is the much disputed Economic & Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA). It has led to a serious dispute between the present govt and Sri Lanka’s professionals in the medical and IT sectors, besides members of civil society. It does not mean ETCA is without supporters though it would appear opponents outnumber supporters to the proposed agreement. more..

Who will take the blame or be held responsible for last week's power debacle?

Mar 24 (SO) Those who remember engineer D.J. Wimalasurendra, the statesman, would also know that 2018 marks a centenary since his concept of using hydropower to add a high mega output of electricity to the national grid was proposed. At a time when Sri Lanka is plagued with power outages for days on end, there is lateral thinking that he may have been right, if only those at the helm gave ear to his concept. more..

Will the judiciary succumb to Mahinda's threats ?

Mar 24 (CT) The battle between Rajapaksas' and the Maithri-Ranil Govt has now reached the stage: Get-Set-Go. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe last week stated that all fraud and corruption of Rajapaksas' would be made public within the next three months and urged the Rajapaksas' to be ready with their lawyers from now on. Even before Ranil issued that warning, the Rajapaksas' are busy on a daily basis seeking legal advice to cover them from charges of fraud and corruption levelled against them. more..

Editorial: Terrorism sans borders

Mar 24 (Island) It was with shock and dismay that the world received the news of recent terror strikes in Brussels. Blasts left more than 30 people dead. Many watched the scenes of carnage on television in total disbelief. Whoever would have thought one of the ten most peaceful cities in the world would come under terrorist attacks? The Brussels blasts are believed to have been carried out in retaliation for the recent arrest, in  Belgium, of the suspected logistician named Salah Abdeslam, more..

Being constantly on the qui vive

Mar 24 (CT) Former Commandant of the STF senior DIG Nimal Lewke described how the STF provided the VIP security to prominent politicians in the country and protected their lives. Q: What did your father say about your heroic acts? A: My father died when I was 10 years old. Subsequently my mother remarried. I have a younger sister and a brother from that marriage. They too are residing in Kandy. Q: As a VIP security expert, how did more..

Increasing women’s participation in politics: Solving the problem or veiling it?

Mar 24 (GV) Celebrating a long fought victory, the Sri Lankan women’s movement was recently able to receive assurance of an increase in women’s political participation in Local Govt institutions. Sri Lanka recently passed the amended Local Authorities Elections Act, which allocates a 25% quota for female representation in local govt bodies. This 25% would be solely based on a list prepared by the respective political parties. There is no doubt that increasing women’s political more..

Gammedda with forgotten people of Mother Lanka

Mar 24 (Island) With a highly enthusiastic bunch of people from Sirasa TV’s News First, and a final year student from the University of Peradeniya, I ventured out to Batticaloa in the Eastern Province in search of the problems faced by our people trying hard to make ends meet, with no help from the authorities who live in the lap of luxury in cold rooms even during power cuts. Yes. The politicians got generators. The journey was hard in the boiling Batticaloa sun, and difficult in very dusty more..

Athuraliye Rathana Thero

The new hotel classification system: A breath of fresh air finally arrives!

Mar 24 (Island) I was very happy to read in the newspapers recently that the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) was taking steps to implement the new hotel classification system within the next few months. Chairman of SLTDA, veteran hotelier Mr. Paddy Withana should be congratulatedthat he has been able to push through this long outstanding piece of legislation, to improve the standards of Sri Lanka hotels. Designing a proper hotel classification system is complex, more..