Sri Lankan Cabinet Amends National Human Rights Action Plan to Continue with De-criminalization of Homosexuality.

By P.K.Balachandran The Sri Lankan cabinet has decided not to de-criminalize homosexuality, cabinet spokesman and Health Minister Dr.Rajitha Senaratne said here on Wednesday. But asked if there is a possibility of homosexuals being arrested under the existing law which criminalizes homosexuality, Senaratne said there is little likelihood of arrests as people indulge in homosexuality indoors, …

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Govt Unclear Whether it wants a new Constitution, Modest Reform or Renovation of the Existing One.

BY DR. DAYAN JAYATILLEKA Not only is the government increasingly divided, I am too. It was almost the end of 2016 and at the society wedding of the year attended by the incumbent President, the Prime Minister and two former Presidents (of wildly unequal popularity even in an elite setting), that a very senior retired …

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Heightened Interest in Sri Lanka by US Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) is Cause for Concern

By Lasanda Kurukulasuriya Responding to my column of January 07, 2017 titled ‘US role in Sri Lanka’s institutional reform process – Assistance or Espionage?’ the Secretary General of Parliament wrote a Letter to the Editor regarding the agreement signed by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya in Washington DC in September. It said “The said agreement does not …

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Lanka Coal Chairman Maithri Gunaratne Who Exposed Sordid Swiss Coal Tender Deal Removed from Post by Power Minister Siyambalapitiya.

by Shamindra Ferdinando Power and Renewable Energy Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya has removed attorney-at-law Maithri Gunaratne from the post of Chairman Lanka Coal Company (LCC) a week after the UNPer exposed sordid coal deals perpetrated at Sri Lanka’s expense. Former Southern Provincial Council member confirmed his removal and the disbanding of the board of directors Secretary …

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MG Ramachandran Born in Kandy Was Sri Lanka’s Gift to India Says Indian Consul-General at MGR Birth Centenary Event in Jaffna.

By P.K.Balachandran The 100th birth anniversary of M.G.Ramachandran, who dominated the Tamil film world as well as Tamil Nadu politics like a colossus till his death in December 1987, was observed in the North Sri Lankan Tamil town of Jaffna on Tuesday with the Indian Consul General, A.Natarajan, as the Chief Guest. The solemn function …

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Alleged Ex-LTTE Leader Suresh Manikkavasagam to be Deported From Canada to Sri Lanka

Canada will finally deport a former Tamil Tiger who raised funds for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Manickavasagam Suresh was sent by the LTTE to Canada in 1990 to serve as the coordinator of the World Tamil Movement to raise funds from the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora. Canada’s federal court has upheld his …

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“Ex-Muslims of Sri Lanka”(EMSL)Organization Formed on Dec 30th 2016 by Group of Persons Who Quit Islam as a Religion.

A group of individuals, who chose to leave the religion they were born to – Islam, owing to different reasons, joined as a group to form ‘Ex-Muslims of Sri Lanka’ (EMSL), two days prior to bidding farewell to the year 2016. Coming out to the public for the first time in Sri Lanka’s history as …

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Deafening Silence of USA and India Over Maithri-Ranil Govt’s Hambantota Deal With the “Robber Barons” of China.

By Sumanasiri Liyanage Why have the US and India not raised yet an issue over the decision of the Sirisena- Wickremesinghe government to lease out Hambantota Port to a Chinese company for 99 years has surprised many. The Sri Lankan government has also decided to grant China 15,000 acres in the vicinity of Hambantota Port. …

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“President Sirisena Must Honour Mandate to Abolish the Executive Presidency” – MA.Sumanthiran M.P.

By Kelum Bandara Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP for the Jaffna District M.A. Sumanthiran, in an interview with the Daily Mirror, shares his views on the Constitution making and the way forward. He says his party remains optimistic about a positive outcome. Excerpts: Q How optimistic are you of the Constitution making process? Well, this …

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Mano Ganesan Seeks Cabinet Approval to Recruit,Train and Appoint 3000 “Bi-lingual Assistants” in State Institutions

By Sandun Jayawardana The sole authority for language policy implementation is the Ministry of National Coexistence, Dialogue and Official Languages. The Department of Official Languages (DOL), the Official Languages Commission (OLC) and National Institute of Language Education and Training (NILET) fall within its purview. Mano Ganesan is proud of being the first subject minister proficient …

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Lack of Bi-lingual Proficiency Among Govt Officials Hampers the Implementation of Tamil as an Official Language.

By Sandun Jayawardana On December 28, Aingkaran Kugathasan accompanied a friend to the Jaffna police station to lodge a complaint. It was around10.40 a.m. and there was a long queue. But even after one hour, the line did not move. “When we inquired, we were told there was only one policeman conversant in Tamil and …

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Is a Reformed Executive President Better Than An Executive Prime Minister?

By Ranga Jayasuriya Few institutions in this country are as vilified as the executive presidency. The SLFP has been campaigning to abolish it since the very first day it was introduced under the 1978 Constitution. However, after they were elected to power, SLFP leaders did anything but abolishing the executive presidency. Chandrika Kumaratunga won a …

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Wilpattu Settlements Environmental Crisis Has Changed Into an Ethnic Issue Between Sinhalese and Muslims.

By Rathindra Kuruwita “Any fool can tell a crisis when it arrives. The real service to the State is to detect it in embryo.” – Isaac Asimov The issue of establishing new settlements on forest areas adjoining Wilpattu National Park has moved beyond from being an environmental issue to a tribal shoving match, by tribes …

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Board of Investment Dupes Country,President and Prime Minister About Non-Existent Volkswagen Assembly Plant Deal

by Nirmala Kannangara After the Volkswagen Company in Germany claimed that they have not invested in an vehicle assembly plant in Sri Lanka nor have any intention to do so even in future, it had now come to limelight as to how the Board of Investments (BOI) not only duped the President and Prime Minister …

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Rajapaksa Regime’s Ex -Nigeria Envoy “ASP”Liyanage of “Speaking Notes Fame”, Designated as Ambassador to Qatar by “Yahapalanaya” Govt

A businessman who was once handpicked by the former administration to head Sri Lanka’s embassy in Nigeria, has been officially named ambassador-designate to Qatar. Panagoda Don Prince Solomon Anura Liyanage, more commonly known as ASP Liyanage, was nominated by President Maithripala Sirisena. The Qatari Government is yet to be notified. He is the latest in …

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“Dangal”Based on Life of Haryana Wrestler Mahavir Phogat Adjudged the Best Film at 62nd “Filmfare “Awards

Aamir Khan bagged the best actor honour, while his movie “Dangal” was adjudged as the best film at the 62nd Jio Filmfare Awards. The best director award went to Nitesh Tiwari for “Dangal”, which is based on the life of Haryana wrestler Mahavir Phogat and his daughters. The awards, held on Saturday, was hosted by …

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MCDonalds in India Introduces “Dosa Burger” Combining French Style Brioche With Ingredients of Potato Masala Dosa.

Unmentionable things have been stuffed into the dosa over the years, so why the outrage over its McAvatar? McD made a mash of milagu mayo Packed a pickled potato patty Dosa’s done and dusted It’s McBreakfast’s Taste of India Challenge. All across the South, the Dosa Masters have raised their ladles in silence.On January the …

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97,000 Applicants in North for Pre-fabricated Steel Houses but Tamil National Alliance Protests Against Project

by Dilisha Abeysundara The people in the North have been suffering for the past thirty years with war right at their doorstep and their sole wish has been to live in peace under their own roof on their land. Sadly, even after a decade since the end of the war, the authorities have failed to …

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2017 Admissions to Royal College Grade 1 Classes Suspended by Education Ministry Due to Allegations of “Right Royal”Fraud.

by Roshani Nathaniel The Ministry of Education has decided to suspend grade one admissions to Royal College Colombo for the new academic year in response to complaints received by the Education Ministry in November, 2016 with regard to alleged irregularities that took place during the selection process of students for grade one. The grade one …

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Mahinda Loyalist Lokuwithana to be Given 100 Acres on 99 Year Lease at Annual Rent of Rs 100 Per Acre to Build Tyre Factory in Horana

By Namini Wijedasa The Government, through the Ministry of Development Strategies, is drawing up a sweetheart deal for controversial Sri Lankan businessman Nandana Lokuwithana to build a tyre factory in Horana. Among other things, it will grant him a 99-year lease on 100 acres of land for an annual rent of just 100 rupees an …

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Mahinda Rajapaksa is the Glue That Holds the Coalition Governing Sri Lanka Together

By Dr. Ram Manikkalingam The National Unity Government with Maithripala Sirisena as President and Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister has lasted for two years. How much longer will it last, given the policy, political and personal dilemmas that bedevil it? The coalition that governs Sri Lanka came together to defeat Mahinda Rajapaksa. And it has …

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Digital Specialty Chemicals Ltd CEO Ravi Gukathasan Donates $2 Million to Toronto Uiversity Scarborough Campus for Tamil Studies

By Berton Woodward One of University of Toronto Scarborough Campus’s earliest Tamil alumni has given UTSC a historic donation of $2 million to support Tamil studies. The gift from Ravi Gukathasan (U of T PhD, 1986; UTSC BSc, 1982), who is CEO of Digital Specialty Chemicals Ltd. in Scarborough, is the largest single cash gift …

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Setting Up Criminal Justice Commissions to Probe Corruption Charges Against Political Rivals May Be Maithripala’s ” Secret Weapon” to Clear the Way for 2020 Polls .

By Don Manu Perhaps triggered by Mahinda Rajapaksa throwing down the gauntlet two weeks ago and threatening to topple the government this year, the Sirisena faithful drew ranks last week and proceeded to lay the groundwork for The Empire to strike back with a vengeance. The first was a line of defense. It was to …

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Several Ministers Raise Issues About Some Provisions in Proposed 300 Page National Human Rights Action Plan.

Govt ministers at their weekly meeting discussed the National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP) 2017-2021. Its urgency has been underscored by European Union’s initial moves to restore to Sri Lanka the General System of Preferences (GSP plus). The NHRAP report runs into more than 300 pages and several ministers raised issue over what they perceived …

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Untoward Jubilation of Govt Ministers Over EU Announcement on GSP+ Must Be Abruptly Checked

By Kishali Pinto Jayawardene The European Commission’s proposal this week to the European Union (EU) regarding the restoration of GSP (General System of Preference) Plus to Sri Lanka’s export market did not carry with it, any element of particular surprise. This was a step long predicted. Checking displays of untoward jubilation And as a rider, …

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Wimal Weerawansa “Released” Gpvt Vehicles for Personal use of Close relatives,Friends,Party Activists and “Ravana Balaya”

By Rasika Jayakody National Freedom Front (NFF) leader and UPFA Parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa was arrested last week by the Police Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID), for the abuse of state vehicles. Several politicians and state officials under the previous government were under investigation for the same charge over the past few months, leading to the …

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Unravelling of “Yahapalanaya” Can Lead to Opening of Door for the Re-creation of a Sordid Rajapaksa Past

by Anura Gunasekera The MP for Kurunegala, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has announced a wish, intent and threat, a three-in-one package for the New Year. Perhaps it is also a resolution; that is to topple the existing Sirisena/Wickramasinghe coalition and to establish a new government . Its composition and contours have not been defined but it is …

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Local Govt Polls with 79% seats for First Past the Post and 21% by Proportionate Representation Unfair to Minority and Small Parties.

By P.K.Balachandran Small political parties and parties of small minorities have got a raw deal in the local government reform process and may be reluctant to support any legislation in the regard, says Mano Ganeshan, leader of the Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) and a cabinet minister for National Languages and Dialogue. Ganeshan told Express on …

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Wijedasa Rajapakshe Opposes Ravi Karunanayake’s Proposal to Grant Foreigners Residential Visa for US $300,000 Investment

by Zacki Jabbar Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said yesterday that he was opposed to the proposal by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake to grant foreigners resident visas for a minimum investment of US$ 300,000. Asked if the required legislation was in place, Rajapakshe replied that Karunanayake’s proposal had not been presented to the Cabinet of Ministers. …

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Thanks to Litigation By Vasudeva Nanayakkara ,Supreme Court will Decide Fate of China-Funded Hambantota Port Deal

By P.K.Balachandran A Sri Lankan Supreme Court case filed by Joint Opposition MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara, challenging the way in which the government decided to give 80 percent stake in the Hambantata port to a Chinese company for 99 years, will decide the fate of the controversial and politically explosive deal with geopolitical implications. The case …

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Is the Western “Tie” a Snake in Disguise for National Leaders Like President Maithripala Sirisena?

By Gamini Akmeemana President Maithripala Sirisena has a penchant for getting worked up over things most of us take for granted. This time, it was a tie. Having spotted a Divisional Secretary wearing a tie at a Pirith ceremony in Polonnaruwa, he was moved to ask if a tie was necessary for the occasion (‘mama …

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Hambantota Protest Though the “Height of Hypocrisy”Has Struck a Nerve – The Economist

FOR generations, Priyantha Ananda’s family sold kalu dodol—a sticky sweet made of coconut milk and rice flour—on the old Tangalle road in Hambantota. The government moved his wayside shop in 2008 to build a sprawling commercial port, financed by Chinese loans. He was one of around 40 street vendors forced to relocate to another neighbourhood, …

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“Lasantha Wickrematunge was the most Outstanding Journalist of Our Times” -Gamini Weerakoon

By Gamini Weerakoon (Full Text of speech delivered by former Editor of “The Island” Gamini Weerakoon at the 8th Death Anniversary memorial event of Lasantha Wickrematunga – Founder Editor of “The Sunday Leader”- who ws assassinated on Jan 8th 2009) We hav egathered here today to commemorate the life and the journalistic career of Lasantha …

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Govt Must Attempt Course Correction in 2017 Or Continue on Self-Destructive Path to Face Defeat in 2020

By Dharisha Bastians Every year on 8 January, a quiet gathering takes place at a grave inside the Borella cemetery. Words are spoken softly about a life lived in glorious irreverence, a man remembered for his courage and capacity to inspire. Flower tributes are paid at his tombstone inside the tree-lined cemetery; memory sketches are …

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‘Thai Pongal’ the Harvest Festival of Tamils

By P. Krishnaswamy After the Christmas and New Year festivities, the focus is now on the Pongal harvest festival, popularly known as Thai Pongal, celebrated in the first four days of the month of Thai in the Tamil-Hindu calendar. Traditionally, it is the festival of farmers who depend on Mother Earth, the sun, rain, other …

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Ex-President and Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa Answers Questions Posed to him on Twitter.

Former President turned Kurunegala District Parliamentarian Mahinda Rajapaksa took to twitter yesterday to answer questions live posed to him by the twitteratzi. Following are some of the questions by them and his responses. Parthiban @itsparthiban: Do you think the National Unity Government will solve the national issue? Response: Good Morning… So far their acts or …

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Muslim Council of Sri Lanka Complains to US Envoy Atul Keshap About Issues Affecting Community Including Wilpattu

By P.K.Balachandran The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka (MCSL) met the US Ambassador Atul Keshap here on Wednesday and apprised him of the issues facing the Muslim community in the light of a recent resurgence of Sinhala-Buddhist extremism with the tacit support of a section of the government. Briefing Express on the meeting, MCSL member …

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EU Restores GSP Plus Concessions to Sri Lanka but Will Monitor Human Rights Issues

By P.K.Balachandran The European Commission decided on Wednesday to restore trade concessions under the General System of Preference Plus (GSP-Plus) to Sri Lanka but on the condition that Sri Lanka fulfills its obligations in regard to the maintenance of human rights. “Removal of customs duties would be accompanied by rigorous monitoring and conditional on continued …

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Ex-President Rajapaksa Attempts to Topple Govt by Exploiting Rising Hostility Against It.

By Pradeep Ramanayake In comments to the media on December 28, former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse declared that he would “topple” the government in 2017, accusing it of failing in its “management and development of the country.” Rajapakse added: “The biggest thing that they did was to stop all the development works that I …

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Mahinda Rajapaksa Wants Chinese Funded Projects in Hambantota Implemented Without Displacement of People and Harming Environment

By Meera Srinivasan Opposing the Sri Lankan government’s terms for a controversial Chinese-funded port and investment zone in the southern district of Hambantota, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Wednesday said the projects displaced people and harmed the environment. Days after his meeting with Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Yi Xianliang, Mr. Rajapaksa said: “My request …

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President Sirisena’s Brother and Leading Rice Miller Dudley Promises Reduction of Rice Price After February 3rd Week.

The Chairman of leading rice mill owner Araliya Rice, Dudley Sirisena, yesterday promised to maintain the bulk rice price at Rs. 90 and reduce prices after the third week of February, offsetting fears of a shortage. President Maithripala Sirisena’s sibling, speaking on behalf of all mill owners in the country, gave a personal guarantee that …

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Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt Seems to be Trapped in the Politics of Survival

By Meera Srinivasan Two years after Sri Lankans made an emphatic point by voting for change, which President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe personified at that time, the national unity government they brought to power seems trapped in the politics of survival. In the early hours of January 9, 2015, Sri Lanka witnessed …

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Attorney-General Petitions Court of Appeal for Re-trial of Raviraj Assassination Case by a Judge Without Jury and Under PTA.

By P.K.Balachandran The Sri Lankan Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya on Wednesday petitioned the Court of Appeal for a retrial of the Nadarjah Raviraj assassination case by a judge and not a jury, and under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), not ordinary law. The Colombo High Court had acquitted the five persons accused of killing …

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European Commission Recommends Restoration of GSP+ By European Union In Exchange for Lanka Implementing 27 International Conventions

The European Commission proposed that a significant part of the remaining import duties on Sri Lankan products should be removed by the European Union in exchange for the country’s commitment to ratify and effectively implement 27 international conventions on human rights, labour conditions, protection of the environment and good governance. It added in a statement …

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Sri Lanka Regains GSP Plus Due to Govt Protecting Human Rights and Restoring Democracy Says Prime Minister Wickremesinghe

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says, in a media statment, that Sri Lanka has regained the Generalised Scheme of Preferences, known as GSP Plus. He says regaining the GSP Plus was possible due to the government’s commitment to the protection of human rights and the restoration of democracy. “This is a victory not only for the …

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Wimal Weerawansa Arrested and Remanded For Alleged Misuse of Govt Vehicles While Supporters Chant”Hail to the Leader who Saved the Nation”.

By Dharisha Bastians The well-frequented Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) in Fort was the scene of tension and demonstrations yesterday, as National Freedom Front Leader, and former Minister Wimal Weerawansa was arrested by the special police unit on charges of misusing Government vehicles and causing losses to the tune of Rs. 41 million to the …

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Assassinated MP Nadarajah Raviraj’s Wife Sasikala Files Appeal Seeking Colombo High Court Acquittal Order to be Set Aside by Court of Appeal

By S.S. Selvanayagam The wife of slain MP Nadarajah Raviraj filed a case in the Court of Appeal against the ruling of the Colombo High Court in her husband’s murder case. Appellant Sasikala Raviraj seeks the Court of Appeal to set aside the High Court’s acquittal of the accused. She filed her appeal on the …

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Murdered TNA Parliamentarian Raviraj’s Family Still Waiting for Justice After Acquittal of Persons Charged

By Meera Srinivasan It was the Christmas weekend last year. Praviinaa Raviraj woke up and looked at the newspapers. ‘All accused released’, the front-page headlines screamed. Beneath was a photograph of her father Nadarajah Raviraj — a Tamil legislator killed in 2006 — alongside that of three naval intelligence officers, celebrating with their families, following …

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Premier Ranil Presents to Cabinet Draft Counter Terrorism Law With “Progressive Provisions” to Replace Draconian PTA.

By Dharisha Bastians ​* PM presents revised CTA policy to Cabinet. * Revisions make confessions to police inadmissible as evidence. * Suspects to be produced before magistrate within 48 hours. *Persons arrested under CTA to get same access to legal counsel guaranteed under general law. * Detainees can only be held four months in custody …

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Chandrika Kumaratunga Says Consultation Task Force Was Not Mandated to Provide Recommendations or Solutions

By Chathuri Dissanayake The political interests of opposing parties prevented the country from adopting a new Constitution, former president Chandrika Kumaratunga said, claiming that previous attempts were botched by the United National Party for political gain. “What Ranil Wickremesinghe rejected then is what he is trying to bring about now. He opposed the constitutional changes …

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SLFP will Field Maithripala Sirisena as Presidential Candidate in 2020 Declares S.B. Dissanayake

Despite President Maithripala Sirisena’s promise to never run for office again Minister S.B. Dissanayake yesterday said that the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) would field Sirisena as the candidate for the Presidential Election in 2020. Speaking to the media, Dissanayake claimed that President Sirisena is yet to give his opinion about being the SLFP candidate …

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4 Rupee Commission Goven to Sweep Ticket Agents Wont be Increased Says Lotterie Board Chairperson Shermila Perera

by Priyadhashana Liyanage Chairperson of the National Lotteries Board Shermila Perera yesterday said that lottery agents would not be paid anything more than the current four-rupee commission. She said she would not give in to that unreasonable demand. She said that neither President Maithripala Sirisena nor Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe nor Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake …

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Mahinda Rajapaksa says Hambantota Issue Cannot be Resolved by Baton Charging,Tear Gassing, Assaulting with Thugs or Remanding Protesters

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said the Hambantota dispute is “not an issue that can be resolved by baton-charging or tear gassing protesters or having them assaulted by thugs and remanded.” “There are real issues relating to the financial benefits that will accrue to the country from this deal, and issues of control and sovereignty …

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Talking About Foreign Judges is a Waste of Time Because President Sirisena Wont Let That Happen

By Rathindra Kuruwita Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms (CTFRM) released their final report last week. The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), a number of INGOs and social justice warriors loved it, who would have thought?, while the government tied itself into knots trying to respond to the report. Although the report comprises a …

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“Banker” Selecting Ravi Karunanayake as Asia-Pacific Regions Best Finance Minister Boosts Morale of Maithri-Ranil Govt

By P.K.Balachandran An international award won by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake could not have come at a more appropriate time. Even as the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government is being badgered from all sides for alleged non-performance, London-based magazine The Banker has declared Sri Lankan Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake as the Best Finance Minister in the Asia-Pacific region …

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Any Future Involvement By Mahinda Rajapaksa In Politics Would Be Disastrous For The Country.

By Ranga Jayasuriya Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced his New Year resolution a little too prematurely, days before 2017 dawned when he pledged to bring down the government. Last week, his self-anointed cronies put up a good show in Hambantota, though he himself kept way from the scene so that he would not offend the Chinese. …

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Indian Govt Removing Tamil Festival “Thai Pongal” from Compulsory Holidays List Angers Tamil Nadu Political Parties

A flash news across Tamil television channels on Monday evening that the Central government has shifted Pongal holiday from ‘compulsory holidays list’ to ‘restricted holidays list’ has made leaders of political parties fume in anger and, in one voice, they demanded compulsory holiday for Pongal festival. AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala, DMK working president MK …

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“Super Ministry”Bill Presented By Prime Mniister Differently as Sustainable Development Bill Charges Joint Opposition

By Ajith Alahakoon and Kushan Subasinghe Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had presented the ‘Super Ministry’ draft bill yesterday under a different title as Sri Lanka Sustainable Development bill, the Joint Opposition said. As soon as the bill was presented Leader of the House, Higher Education and Highways Minister Lakshman Kiriella said it would be taken …

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“Rajapaksa Brothers Instigated Violence in Hambantota;Droves of Men in Yellow Robes Who Were Not Monks”-Sujeewa Senasinghe

By Harischandra Gunaratna State Minister of International Trade yesterday accused Rajapaksa brothers of instigating their supporters in Hambantota to disrupt a ceremony to mark the launch of an industrial park on Saturday by disseminating false information. The protest was organised by the Joint Opposition. Addressing the media at the Government Information Department, Sujeewa Senasinghe said: …

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Manouri Muttetuwegama Chaired Reconciliation Task Force Report Must be read by All Concerned About this Country and Its Long Suffering People

By Manel Fonseka One year ago the week from 8 to 14 January was declared National Integration and Reconciliation week “for the first time in history by President Maitripala Sirisena”. The week was to be “celebrated every year … supported by the State Minister of National Integration and Reconciliation AHM Fowzie and the Chairperson of …

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Rice Price Crisis Due to “Mill Owner Mafia”Buying Paddy At Rs 23 Per Kilo and Selling at Rs 95 Per Kg as “Super Rice” After Processing

By Methmalie Dissanayake In addition to being gripped by unfavourable weather conditions, Sri Lanka is now facing a rice shortage, at least according to the authorities. The Department of Agriculture said only 250, 000 hectares were cultivated during the last Maha Season, when 800, 000 hectares are cultivated annually. Considering this situation, the government has …

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TNA To Continue Supporting Current Constitution Making Process Despite Doubts Of a Favourable Final Outcome

By P K Balachandran The Tamil National alliance (TNA), which is the official Opposition in the Sri Lankan parliament and the ruling party in the Northern Provincial Council, will continue to support the ongoing process to draft a new constitution for Sri Lanka despite internal dissensions. The TNA, which met twice last week, decided to …

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Actress Meryl Streep Flays Donald Trump at 74th Golden Globes Awards Event: Full Text of Speech.

(Text of Actress Meryl Streep’s Speech at the 74th Golden Globes Awards Event Held on January 8th 2017. Ms. Streep received the Cecil B De Mille Award at the function) Please sit down. Thank you. I love you all. You’ll have to forgive me. I’ve lost my voice in screaming and lamentation this weekend. And …

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Top Winners at the 74th Golden Globes Awards Event Held on January 8th 2017

Here are the movies and TV shows that received the top awards in 2017 at the 74th Golden Globes Movies Best picture, drama: “Moonlight” Best picture, comedy or musical: “La La Land” Actress, drama: Isabelle Huppert, “Elle” Actor, drama: Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea” Actress, comedy or musical: Emma Stone, “La La Land” Actor, …

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Reconciliation Task Force Report Recommends In Effect Internationally Supervised Legal Lynching of Armed Forces And Its Wartime Political Leadership

BY DR. DAYAN JAYATILLEKA As it enters Year 3, the Yahapalana government’s crisis-management option seems to be a return to the worst follies of Mrs. Bandaranaike and JR Jayewardene. It is planning to restore the Criminal Justice Commission, frame the Rajapaksas (including Gotabhaya) and remove their civic rights. This is combination of a Felixian instrument, …

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President Sirisena Admits that Some MP’s in his Govt have Doubts about Getting Elected Again in 3 Years

By P.K.Balachandran Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday told his detractors and Doubting Thomases that the National Unity government will stay to fulfill the mandate it received two years ago on this day. He further said that he is not worried about statements or actions of those who are wanting to topple the government …

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The House on Rent that Lester James and Sumitra Peries Lived in for 49 Years Sold to a Property Developer Without The Elderly Couple Being Informed

By Chris Kamalendran Nonagenarian and internationally acclaimed film director Lester James Peries’ and his wife Sumitra Peries’ days at the residence they have occupied for more than 47 years may be numbered after its owner sold it to a property developer without their knowledge. The couple had been living in the house on Lester James …

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At Least 10 Opposition MP’s to be Arrested for Instigating Violence and Leading Attack on Policemen in Hambantota During Protest Banned by Courts

by Norman Palihawadane At least ten MPs of the Joint Opposition (JO) would be taken into custody during the next couple of days for staging protests in Hambantota in violation of a court order banning demonstrations, a senior police officer said yesterday. Police said those MPs had led protests and participated in a march violating …

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Ranil’s Security Personnel Seize Hiru TV’s Drone Aerially Filming Police Crackdown in Hambantota and Remove Memory Chip

by Dasun Edirisinghe The Hiru TV drone, which recorded and transmitted aerial pictures of the Hambantota protest and police crackdown on Saturday, had been launched about two kilometres away from the place where Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and other dignitaries were present, News Director of Asia Broadcasting Corporation Sudeva Hettiarachchi said yesterday. Hettiarachchi argued that …

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Confining Country’s Post -war”Crisis of Justice” to Ethnic Dimension Alone is Unforgivably Blinkered.

By Kishali Pinto Jayawardene From the reports of the Disappearances Commission in the 1990’s to the findings of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (2011) to the most recent report of the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation (2017), it has been a long and undeniably hopeless ride for Sri Lanka’s victims. Throughout that process, which …

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Two Year Economic Performance of Govt With Reckless Budgets of 2015 and 2016 Has Been Disappointing.

By Nimal Sanderatne Much was expected of the Unity Government’s two year regime but too little achieved. There have been improvements in governance but economic policies have been uncertain, confusing and ineffective. Economic Performance The economic performance in the last two years has been disappointing. Compared with an annual average economic growth of 6.4 percent …

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23 Injured,52 Arested as Police Crack Down On Demonstrators Violating Court Order to Protest Against Hambantota Port Deal With China

BY Methmalie Dissanayake, Kavindya Chris Thomas and Upatissa Perera Police unleashed the water cannon treatment to break up a mob, which included the newly-formed Buddhist Monks Organization to Protect the Magampura-Hambantota Harbour, Parliamentarians Udaya Gammanpila, Dullas Alahapperuma and former Uva Chief Minister Shashindra Rajapaksa, that launched a protest demonstration at the inauguration ceremony of the …

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SLFP in Govt Wants to Retain Executive Presidency and Nominate Sirisena as Candidate in 2020 Presidential Poll.

By the “Sunday Times” Political Editor The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) wants to retain the executive presidency and has decided that Maithripala Sirisena should be the party’s candidate at the 2020 presidential election. The unanimous decision came at a meeting of SLFP ministers just after last Tuesday’s weekly ministerial session. It was summoned by …

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Italian Marangoni Company “Distances” itself from Envisaged Tyre Manufacturing Plant at Wagawatte, Horana for Which Ranil Laid Foundation Stone

By Namini Wijedasa An Italian company that was reported to be investing in a US$ 75 million (Rs 11 billion) tyre production plant in Sri Lanka under the Board of Investment (BOI) has distanced itself from the project. Marangoni is only involved indirectly in the possible US$75 million investment in Sri Lanka, the company says …

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Blunder in Submitting Application Results in Guinness Book of Records Not Recognizing World’s Tallest Christmas Tree at Galle Face.

The “world’s tallest Christmas tree” that Sri Lanka built has still not been evaluated by Guinness World Records. The reason: The application was lodged in the wrong category. It was 10.07am on August 18, 2016, when Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga cut out a square of earth on Galle Face Green and laid the …

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2017 Begins Inauspiciously for Sisrisena- Wickremesinghe Government

By C.A.Chandraprema The government got off to a very bad start in 2017. Probably for the first time in living memory, we began the year with a strike – that of sweep ticket sellers who claimed that their commission has not been increased despite the increase in the price of a sweep ticket. Their cry …

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2016 Darkened by Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt Emulating the Worst Errors of Rajapaksa Regime

by Tisaranee Gunasekara “There are times – they mark the danger point for a political system – when politicians can no longer communicate, when they stop understanding the people they are supposed to be representing.” Ian Kershew (Hitler) The adage is common to many cultures, the condition it refers to a universal one. Madness is …

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Memorial Service to Mark Murdered Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge’s Eighth death Anniversary on January 8th 2017

The eighth death anniversary of The Sunday Leader Founder Editor-in-Chief Lasantha Wickrematunge, which falls on Jan 8th 2017 , will be marked with a service at his graveside. Family, friends, former colleagues and others, including those from political and diplomatic circles, will gather at Borella Kanatte at 9 a.m. on Sunday 8th to mark the …

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US Company With Alleged CIA Links to Help Implement Democratic Governance and Accountability Project in Sri Lanka

By Lasanda Kurukulasuriya Recent media reports revealing that a $13.7 million USAID programme for ‘democracy and accountability’ is to be implemented by a private US company alleged to have links to the CIA, raise several questions regarding the nature of the government’s relationship with the US. A leading newspaper cited on its January 2, 2017 …

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Saving Leopards Is Hard in Sri Lanka, Especially with All the Landmines

BY SMRITI DANIEL Wilpattu, Sri Lanka’s oldest and largest national park, was once a warzone. The fighting between the Sri Lankan state and the militant separatist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) that began in the 1980s had spilled over into these wild lands. Wildlife researchers Anjali Watson and Andrew Kittle remember hearing stories …

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Vehicle Assembly Plant in Kuliyapitiya Re-named as “Western Mobile”Expected to Turn out 1500 Diesel Cars in First 3 Years

By P K Balachandran The emission scandal in which German carmaker Volkswagen (VW) was embroiled since September 2015, put paid to its project to set up an assembling facility in Sri Lanka, which was to come up this month. Explaining the circumstances in which the VW plant project was called off, Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha …

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“No one can make us do things for the sake of reconciliation and impartiality”says Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe

By Lahiru Pothmulla Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said today said he had no confidence in the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms (CTF) appointed by the Prime Minister. He said the CTF, which recommended the inclusion of at least one international judge on every bench set up to hear allegations of war crimes and the …

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Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha de Silva Issues Personal Clarification About What went wrong With the Volkswagon Vehicle Plant Agreement

Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha de Silva issued a personal clarification regarding the Volkswagen deal, in which he detailed why plans with that car manufacturer did not go ahead. In a evidence based, fact-filled message posted on Facebook the Deputy Minister said, ‘1. Given I was responsible for the initiation of this project I would like …

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Spokesperson Hohmann Confirms Volkswagen Has Not Licensed Any Lankan Company to Assemble Vehicles Locally

By Namini Wijedasa Volkswagen has further confirmed to Times Online that it has not licensed any Sri Lankan company to assemble cars locally. Spokesperson Katrin Hohmann said: “Again, we’d like to state that the Volkswagen brand is constantly evaluating market opportunities on a worldwide basis. There are no decisions for Volkswagen brand investments in Sri …

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Cabinet Ministers Ravi Karunanayake and Malik Samarawickrama Refute Criticism of Joint Opposition Against Hambantota Port Agreement with China

By Nisthar Cassim *Rajapaksa regime borrowed $ 183 billion to build Magampura Port but debt servicing hit crisis level with Rs. 9 billion loss per annum since 2014; Revenue only Rs. 2 billion per year *Malik and Ravi say Rajapaksa and Joint Opposition have no right to oppose new investment, exports and job creation after …

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Consultation Task Force Wants Hybrid Court With Foreign and Local Judges Though Maithri and Ranil Not in Favour of International Role

By Meera Srinivasan The state must release private land occupied by its armed forces, address lingering concerns of militarisation, enforced disappearances and livelihood opportunities in order to move ahead on its promise of reconciliation, a Sri Lankan task force has observed. The government-appointed Consultation Task Force (CTF), comprising civil society members such as activists and …

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No Volkswagen AG Involvement in Kuliyapitiya assembly Plant Clarifies German Embassy

By Namini Wojedasa There is no involvement of German carmaker Volkswagen AG in the project to set up an assembly plant at Kuliyapitiya in the Kurunegala district, a spokesman for the German Embassy said today. “SENOK Trade Combine (Pvt) Ltd. and BOI are the parties of the contract signed on 13th August 2015,” said Dr. …

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11 Member Reconciliation Task Force (CTFRM) Wants Foreign Personnel Participation in Transitional Justice Mechanism

By Shamindra Ferdinando The Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms (CTFRM), headed by attorney-at-law Manouri Muttetuwegama, has called for full participation of foreign judges and other personnel including defence lawyers, prosecutors and investigators in transitional justice mechanism to address accountability issues. The eleven-member committee stressed that foreign participation was required as those who had suffered …

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Govt Wanted to lease out Hambantota port to Chinese company for nearly 200 years Reveals Ports Minister Arjuna Ranatunga

By Namini Wijedasa The original framework agreement for the Hambantota port privatisation had envisaged Sri Lanka leasing out the facility to a single Chinese company for nearly 200 years, Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga has revealed. In a letter to a committee of secretaries negotiating the Hambantota deal with China Merchant Port Holding Company …

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Lanka’s Eminent Legal Luminary C.G.Weeramantry Traversed the Peaks of Legal Landscapes Nationally and Internationally

By Kalana Senaratne (Eminent Legal luminary Christopher Gregory Weeramantry has passed away at the age of 90. This article written in “The Island” of November 23rd 2008 in honour of Judge weeramantri’s 82nd Birthday is being re-published here as tribute to an illustrious son of Mother Lanka. The writer who was once a researcher at …

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Mahinda Scared of His Brother Could not Stop Gotabhaya Create Extremist Bodu Bala Sena Reveals Rajitha

By Dharisha Bastians Minister Rajitha Senaratne yesterday pooh-poohed an allegation that he was involved in creating the Bodu Bala Sena made by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa last week, counter-alleging that it was his brother former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa who was the true patron of the extremist Sinhalese movement accused of targeting religious and ethnic …

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Palaly Airport in Jaffna Will be Developed as a “Regional Airport” to Serve Sri Lanka and South India Announces PM Ranil Wickremesinghe

By P.K.Balachandran Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said here on Wednesday, that the Palaly airport in the northern district of Jaffna, will be developed as a “regional airport,” to serve not only Sri Lanka, but also South India. India has been pressing for the development of Palaly as an international airport to improve communication …

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Newly Discovered Non – venomous Scorpion in Sri Lanka Named “Charmus Saradieli” After Legendary Bandit Saradiel

BY SAPUMAL JAYASENA A new breed of scorpion identified in Sri Lanka has been named after popular historical bandit of Sri Lanka Saradiel. Many do not know that the research which led to the discovery was due to study of species of scorpions. That creature did not have such an attractive name. The two inch …

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Neither President Sirisena nor His Representative Could Attend Fidel Castro’s Funeral Due to “Failure” of Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry

By Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka “Yes, finally the tables are starting to turn Talkin’ bout a revolution…” – Tracy Chapman 2016 was the year, in which we lost Fidel and Muhammad Ali. Fidel was the Muhammad Ali of politics; Muhammad Ali was the Fidel Castro of sports. We also lost David Bowie, Prince and above all, Leonard …

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Mahinda Says He is not a “Backstabber” to Topple Govt While Premier Ranil is Away in Switzerland

By Lahiru Pothmulla Former president, Mahinda Rajapaksa MP, said yesterday that he was not a backstabber and would only topple the government when Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was in the country and not when he was abroad. In response to the prime minister’s remark that Mr. Rajapaksa could do whatever he wanted to after he …

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Provincial Councils in Sri Lanka Oppose Govt Move to Centralise Economic Development Through Ministry of National Policy and Economic Affairs

By W. A. Sunil Political tensions between the Sri Lankan government and the country’s provincial councils over its new foreign investment measures have deepened in recent weeks. Known as the “Development (Special Provisions) Act,” Colombo’s planned legislation aims to institute a range of measures that will encourage more foreign investment. If adopted, the legislation will …

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Govt Will Sign Agreement with Chinese Company Over 15,000 Acres in Hambantota on Jan 7th Despite Political Protests

By Dharisha Bastians Facing a barrage of criticism over its decision to lease the Port and 15,000 acres for proposed industrial zone in Hambantota to a Chinese company, the Government yesterday defended the deal saying it would help to turn around white elephant projects in the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s hometown. Cabinet Spokesman Rajitha Senaratne …

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Ranil Wickremesinghe Reveals “Balagathu Lanka”(Powerful Lanka)Plan to Make Country Progress Economically Through Expanding Exports and Investment

By Chathuri Dissanayake Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday unveiled a new plan for the country entitled ‘Balagathu Lanka’ aimed at enduring national progress and individual prosperity by expanding export markets and attracting massive foreign investment. The broad framework, dubbed by the Premier as “the forerunner of development”, outlines a sustainable development economic program harnessing local …

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President Sirisena Facing Political Crisis Cancels visit to Jaffna due to “unscheduled meetings” in Colombo

By PK Balachandran Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has cancelled Wednesday’s visit to Jaffna. A spokesman of the President told Express that “unscheduled meetings” in Colombo led to the cancellation. “But he will be visiting Jaffna on January 25 or any other suitable date before that,” the spokesman added. In Jaffna he was to have …

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Sri Lankan opposition asks President Sirisena to scuttle Hambantota port deal with Chinese company

By P.K.Balachandran Eight Members of the Sri Lankan parliament belonging to the Pro-Mahinda Rajapaksa Joint Opposition have written to President Maithripala Sirisena appealing to him to scuttle the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Framework Agreement signed between the government and the China Merchant Ports Holding Company on the management of the Hambantota port. The MPs, led …

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Unlike Their International Counterparts Sri Lankan Civil Society Has Failed to Publicly Commemorate Fidel Castro.

BY DR. DAYAN JAYATILLEKA “It wasn’t a happy time, believe me!…their humanitarian paratroopers, human rights combined with the right of intervention as the sole means of assistance, the full-bellied Western fortress giving moral lessons to those starving the world over…the cult of national, racial, sexual, religious and cultural identities seeking to undo the rights of …

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Milinda Moragoda Files Courts Complaint Against Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera For Disturbing Neighbourhood with Loudspeakers in the Morning

Venerable Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera was yesterday advised by the Additional Magistrate of Colombo Dulani Amarasinghe, to reduce the volumes of the loudspeakers when chanting religious stanzas, early morning between 5.00 a.m. and 6 a.m. at his temple at Polhengoda. One should engage in religious practice without disturbing the neighbours, she said. The complainant is Milinda …

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Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Symbolizes all the Wrong Moves Made by the Sinhala Nationalist Movement in the Past years

By Rathindra Kuruwita Last week a group calling themselves ‘alt-right Sri Lanka’ started following me on Twitter. Apparently they want to make Gotabaya Rajapaksa President and as Donald Trump would say they made me feel ‘sad’. It’s especially ‘sad’ because the last few years have been good for ethnic nationalism. In the United States Richard …

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Bodu Bala Sena Alleges Mahinda Led Govt was Behind Anti -Muslim Violence in Aluthgama and Pepiliyana

By Dharisha Bastians In a strange falling out, the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) has threatened to take legal action against former President Mahinda Rajapaksa for his statements to the Colombo-based foreign media last week alleging that the untitled-1hardline group was created by the Opposition and Western Governments to ensure his defeat. The hardline group has …

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Constitution Making Process Seriously Undermined as President Sirisena “Surrenders” to Pressure From Buddhist Clergy Hierarchy

By PK Balachandran The much-hyped Sri Lankan constitution making process has hit a serious snag. President Maithripala Sirisena has told the Buddhist high priests in Kandy that he would once again consult the masses on the nature of the constitution, setting aside the report of the Public Representations Committee done after an exhaustive island-wide survey. …

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Police Financial Crimes Investigation Division Crippled as FCID Director Premashantha is Transferred “Suddenly” as Monaragala DIG by IGP Jayasundara

By Kurulu Koojana Kariyakarawana The sudden and unexpected transfer, based on promotion, of the director of the Police Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID), with immediate effect, to Monaragala District last week had raised eyebrows in many political circles, Daily Mirror learns. The FCID director, SSP Anura Premashantha who was promoted to the rank of Deputy …

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Metamorphosis of Wigneswaran From Respected Supreme Court Judge to Darling of Eelam Lobby

By Ranga Jayasuriya We are entering the New Year with many self-contradictions. In politics, at least one stands out. Consider this for instance: The government has mooted a plan for a super-minister who would lord over all others and provincial councils in affairs related to economic planning and foreign investment. The relevant bill which needed …

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Remembering Music Maestro Dr.Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna

By Aparna M Sridhar ‘I don’t know music, I am a mere instrument’: Dr Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna’s death on November 22 took away a much loved light-heartedness and effortlessness of both being and musicality that one does not always associate with classical music. One of South India’s most enduring modern day music legends, the man who …

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AIADMK Cadres Opposing Sasikala Form “Puratchi Malar Deepa Peravai” with 10 Lakhs Members to Promote Jayalalithaa’s Niece Deepa as her Successor

By Pheba Mathew At a time when the AIADMK’s propaganda secretary M Thambidurai has requested VK Sasikala to become the chief minister of the state, a new group has been formed in support of Jayalalithaa’s niece, Deepa Jayakumar. The group, started by an AIADMK cadre Rangaraj (37), was formed on Sunday in Trichy and has …

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