Joint Opposition Establishes Itself as the “Real Opposition” Through Success of Kirullapone May Day Rally

By C. A. Chandraprema May Day this year was different to any previous May Day that we can remember, because this became a test of strength among the contending political formations in the country. Perhaps this ‘test of strength’ element may have been present at previous May Days as well, but it was never so …

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IGP Pujith Jayasundara Reprimands Police Spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekera and Suspends Police Media Unit with Immediate Effect

By Norman Palihawadane Police Media Unit has been suspended by IGP Pujith Jayasundara with immediate effect. He gave orders to suspend the unit and initiate an investigation against its officials for speaking to the media with regard to key suspects connected to the Chavakachcheri explosive haul fleeing to India. Reprimanding ASP Gunasekera for making comments …

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Media Ministry Secy Nimal Bopage Summoned to “Temple Trees” and Ticked Off By Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

By Saman Indrajith Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday asked new Secretary to the Ministry of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Nimal Bopage to refrain making political statements. PM Wickremesinghe summoned Bopage to Temple Trees yesterday morning and questioned him on the latter’s recent press statement urging the media not to use the term ‘Joint Opposition’.

Why Do Many People Think They Know Journalism Better Than Journalists?

By Ranga Jayasuriya Every Tom, Dick and Harry in this country wants to teach journalists a thing or two about how they ought to do their work. Those self-interested busybodies range from the bigwigs at the very top of the government to the Kachcheri clerks in the periphery and the NGO captains of civil society …

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Govt Must Implement Its Promise of Bringing About Structural Independence of State Media

By Kishali Pinto Jayawardene With a woeful history of repressive state regulation of the media still fresh in our collective memory, the ‘Yahapalanaya’ Government’s announcement this month that it will set up an ‘independent authority to regulate the electronic media’ caused many to jib nervously and shy away. Unconvincingly persuasive explanations Apparently the proposed authority …

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Was Media Ministry Secy Nimal Bopage Told by a “Higher Authority” to Issue Controversial Statement?

By C.A.Chandraprema Relations between the government and a section of the media are obviously strained. For some time now the prime minister has been criticizing the media both in and outside parliament often naming names. The president joined the prime minister soon afterwards speaking critically in an interview with the BBC about the web based …

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Mahinda Rajapaksa at Kirullapona Rally Tells Wimal Weerawansa to be Ready to Accompany him to Jail Soon.

Former President and Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday vowed to continue with the ongoing campaign against the government regardless of consequences. The former SLFP leader was addressing the Joint Opposition rally at Kirulapone. In spite of dire warnings by President Maithripla Sirisena, over 46 UPFA members of parliament joined the rally. MPs Vasudeva Nanayakkara …

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Ranil Wickremesinghe tells UNP May Day Rally that Sri Lanka’s Gross Domestic Product Would be Doubled by 2023

by Zacki Jabbar Pledging to develop the economy and provide more relief to the people, UNP leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday in Colombo that a new salary structure incorporating the Cost of Living would be introduced. Wickremesinghe, who usually makes the penultimate speech at UNP May Day rallies, came up the order …

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President Sirisena Tells Galle May Day Rally a Clean Political Movement is Necessary to Form a Future SLFP Led Govt

by Dasun Edirisinghe reporting from Galle Stressing the need to reorganise the party to form a clean political movement, President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday invited everyone to join him to form an SLFP-led government in the future. He said the SLFP led UPFA had been defeated at two major elections last year, but would work for …

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Existing Prevention of Terrorism Act will be Replaced by New Anti-Terrorism Law Announces Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Saturday said that Sri Lanka would introduce a new anti-terrorism law on the lines of the British. The proposed law would replace the existing Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), Premier Wickremesinghe said, adding that he had authorised the use of PTA to facilitate the ongoing investigations into the recovery of …

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Should Sajin de Vass Gunawardena be “Absolved”of his Alleged Corruption Because he has Turned State Witness Against the Rajapaksas?

by Nirmala Kannangara Should all crimes of a wharf clerk turned CEO Mihin be ignored just because he now turns state witness against the Rajapaksas? Sajin de Vass Gunawardena, former Monitoring MP, External Affairs Ministry, who stands accused of mass-scale fraud, unpaid loans, criminality and unfulfilled promises during the Rajapaksa regime, is back in the …

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How Mahinda Rajapaksa Went To Thailand And Met Udaya Weeratunga Who is Wanted in Sri Lanka For Questioning

By Sunday Times Political Editor From Bangkok When Captain Kolitha Ekanayake took off on a SriLankan Airlines Airbus A 330-200 the previous Saturday morning to Bangkok, no one realised that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who was on board, was flying into a serious controversy. From a front row seat in the Business Class he watched …

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Kirullapone May day Rally Will Enable Joint Opposition to Formalise Hold Over Opposition Space Being Occupied By Them.

By C. A. Chandraprema History will be made before the day ends today on May Day and we Sri Lankans will be seeing a phenomenon that no previous generation has seen hitherto. This will be the occupation of the opposition space by a new political entity. There have been breakaway groups from the government earlier …

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Basil Rajapaksa Engaged In “Poaching” Of SLFP Grass Roots Activists For Kirullapone May Day Rally

By Rasika Jayakody When President Maithripala Sirisena walked into a meeting with newspaper editors and media heads at the President’s House on Wednesday morning, he looked calm and confident. The timing of the meeting was crucial as it fell four ahead of May Day – a day exploited by Sri Lankan political parties. This year, …

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65,000 Mittal Housing Project Must Be Rejected For The Right reasons And Not Be Accepted For The Wrong Reasons

By Prof. Mano Kumarasuriyar Much has been said and written about the 65,000 houses programme being proposed by the Government. Its critics claim it to be an improperly conceived national expenditure with relatively high opportunity costs. On the other hand, its proponents, the Ministry of Rehabilitation and Resettlements, in particular, say those who criticise the …

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How Can Samantha Power Describe Sri Lanka as a “Global Champion of Human Rights and Democratic Accountability”?

By Taylor Dibbert On Thursday in Washington, the United States and Sri Lanka held an important meeting focused on trade, investment, and the broader direction of bilateral economic relations. Samantha Power, U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations, even flew in from New York City to attend the event. Power’s prepared remarks are as upbeat …

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Sri Lanka Has Since January 2015 Emerged As a Global Champion of Human Rights and Democratic Accountability Says Samantha Power

(Remarks made by Ambassador Samantha Power , US Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at a United States-Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Framework Agreement Council Meeting on April 28th 2016.) There were two reasons that I flew down from New York at the crack of dawn this morning to join you. The first is that …

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TNA Demand For Federalism and N-E Re-merger is Ill-timed and Borders on Desperation

By Vishwamithra1984 “The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it”. ~Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) for the umpteenth time has resorted to its …

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Mahinda Rajapaksa Warns Of Impending Tax Increases And Calls Upon People To Rise Up Against It

(Text of Statement Issued by Former President and current Kurunegala District Parliamentarian Mahinda Rajapaksa) No state can exist without taxes. A government needs revenue to carry out its functions and taxes are charged not only on the incomes of the rich but on goods and services used by the general population as well. Even essential …

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“Preventing Former Ruling Clan From Returning To Power Is My Priority” Declares President Sirisena

By Shamindra Ferdinando President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday declared that his goal was to thwart his immediate predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa’s bid to return to power. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution was meant to scuttle his predecessor’s political project, the SLFP leader said. President Sirisena was responding to a query by The Island at a media …

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TNA Rejects Allegations About Party Leader Sampanthan Forcing His Way Into a Military Camp In Kilinochchi

By Dharisha Bastians Hitting out against the ‘camp controversy’ yesterday, the main opposition Tamil National Alliance rejected claims that its leader Rajavarothiam Sampanthan had forced his way into a military camp in Kilinochchi and said the Opposition Leader had complained to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that the army was illegally occupying land owned by private …

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Maithripala Sirisena Concerned About Section of Media Supporting Authoritarian Rule of Mahinda Rajapaksa

By Shamindra Ferdinando Alleging that a section of the media had thrown their weight behind his predecessor whom he described as an uncompromising and scheming person, President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday alleged that the media seemed to be wanting an authoritarian ruler again. Addressing the proprietors, top management as well as journalists from both public and …

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TNA Leader Sampanthan Responds to Allegations About Entering an Army Camp in Kilinochchi Without Permission in Interview

By Chathushika Wijeyesinghe “Daily Mirror” Interviews Leader of the Opposition and Tamil National Alliance Leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan on Current Issues. Excerpts from the Interview Q. During the last few days the media was highlighting your visit to an Army camp and the fuss some sections of the Joint Opposition was making about it. There had …

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Wigneswaran Sponsored Federalism Resolution By Northern Provincial Council is Both a Threat and an Opportunity

By Malinda Seneviratne Canagasabapathy Visuvalingam Wigneswaran has a lot of opinions. To him, Veluppillai Prabhakaran is a hero. He is entitled to that view — after all some people swear by God and some by the devil. C.V. Wigneswaran is not thanking anyone for the fact that he can actually issue statements from Jaffna without …

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Northern Province Council Resolution Evokes Spontaneous Anti – Federal Response From SLFP, UNP, JVP and FSP

BY DR. DAYAN JAYATILLEKA As always Tamil nationalism has overreached; acted unilaterally and overplayed its hand. As always this overestimation based on (congenitally?) misplaced arrogance undermines its Sinhala moderate counterparts and negotiating partners. This has been so for decades, from the anti-Sri campaign of 1957 which undermined the B-C Pact, through the Vardarajaperumal NEPC’s confrontational …

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Cineplex Odeon Stops Screening of Tamil Movie “Theri” in Greater Toronto Area After Pepper Spray-Like Attacks On 3 Theatres

BY JENNY YUEN TORONTO – A Tamil film has been pulled by big-wig movie theatre corporation Cineplex following three GTA attacks involving a pepper spray-like substance. Theatres in Brampton, Scarborough and Mississauga were evacuated Friday night around 7:20 p.m. because of similar attacks during screening of the action movie Theri. A few people were treated …

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VIEWERS EVACUATED AFTER THREE SIMULTANEOUS ATTACKS ON THEATRES SCREENING TAMIL MOVIE “THERI” IN SCARBOROUGH, MISSISSAUGA AND BRAMPTON IN GTA, CANADA

BY CHRIS DOUCETTE Three GTA movie theatres were cleared out around the same time Friday night because of starkly similar attacks involving a pepper spray-like substance. Both Toronto Police and Peel Regional Police are aware of the similar theatre scares that happened around the same time in neighbouring jurisdictions and say investigators are looking into …

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With Income Decreasing and Expenditure Increasing , Central Bank Report Portrays Bleak Economic Scenario For Sri Lanka on Multiple Fronts

By P K Balachandran A combination of international and domestic factors had resulted in the Sri Lankan economy seeing a decline in 2015 as compared to 2014, as per the report of the island nation’s Central Bank for the year 2015. The report presented to President Mathripala Sirisena by Governor Arjuna Mahendran here on Tuesday, …

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Ties Between the Maithri-Ranil Govt and China Were Brought about by an Economic Expert in Singapore

By Upul Joseph Fernando Subsequent to his defeat his first trip abroad was to Thailand. However, Mahinda had thought he could make his first overseas trip subsequent to his defeat to China. He had even set aside the dates for that trip, but he did not receive an invitation to tour China. From the day …

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Bizarre Resolution Calling For Federalism Passed by Northern Provincial Council is Unconstitutional

By Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka “…a submissive and supine professional elite must first recover its spirit and spine and then renew its commitment to nation and people.” — Mervyn de Silva, ‘Foreign Policy’, Sunday Observer October 14, 1990 Anyone has a right to call for federalism but not in every which way and anywhere they like. If …

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MA Sumanthiran MP Refutes Allegations of TNA Led By Sampanthan Forcibly Entering Army camp in Kilinochchi on April 16th

By Shamindra Ferdinando Strongly denying accusations regarding Opposition and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R. Sampanthan, MP and a group, forcibly entering an army camp at Kilinochchi on April 16, TNA spokesperson M.A. Sumanthiran yesterday called for an urgent review of public property still occupied by the military. Jaffna District MP Sumanthiran insisted that Trincomalee …

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Two Senior Ex-LTTE Eastern Leaders Among 11 Former Tigers Arrested After Detection of Arms Cache in Chavakachcheri Area

By Hemantha Randunu The Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) yesterday took into custody former LTTE Trincomalee District intelligence head, Thillaiarasan, to question in connection with the explosives found in a house in Chavakachcheri last month. Prior to his arrest another Tiger leader, known as ‘Ram’ was taken into custody. Ram was formerly commander of the Amparai …

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Adherence to Austere Agricultural Puritanism is Common to Both University Raggers and Political Leaders of Lanka

By Gamini Akmeemana Ragging is back in the news! Several articles have appeared recently, including one by columnist Ranga Jayasuriya who wrote about his own experiences as a rag victim at university. His experience vis-a-vis a Vice Chancellor rang a bell as I recalled, what a friend told me some time back. As someone who …

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If 3.5 Billion $ Debt is not Resolved Sri Lankan Airlines will Collapse Along with Tourism and National Eonomy Warns Ranil Wickremesinghe

By Chathuri Dissanayake The government is calling for proposals from interested parties to enter into a business venture with the national carrier SriLankan Airlines, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said. The Finance Ministry has already been instructed to call for expressions of interest for investment in the national carrier or enter into a partnership. The national …

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Lankan Tamil Parties Ask Tamil Nadu Leaders Not To Use Sri Lankan Tamil Issue For Electoral Mudslinging

By P.K.Balachandran Leaders of Sri Lankan Tamil political parties have appealed to Tamil Nadu leaders not to use the Lankan Tamil issue for mudslinging in the run up to the State Nadu Assembly elections. “For God’s sake, please drop the Lankan Tamil issue during your highly charged election campaign. Let’s talk after elections,” tweeted Mano …

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The Inconvenient Truth About Sri Lanka’s North and East

By Taylor Dibbert People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL) has recently published a timely report. The document is based upon field research that was conducted in January 2016 and will be of interest to anyone trying to make sense of the new government’s performance since Maithripala Sirisena assumed the presidency in January 2015, …

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No Action to be Taken Against TNA Group Led by MP’s Sampanthan, Sritharan and Sumanthiran For “Invading” Paravipanchan Army Camp on April 16

by Hemantha Randunu Police investigations into a complaint that a group of more than 50 persons led by Opposition and TNA Leader R Sampanthan forcibly entering an army camp at Paravipachchan in Kilinochchi on April 16 have been stalled as the army has been ordered not to pursue the case. Police said yesterday that officers …

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Frontline Socialist Party Warns Tamils not to be Deceived About a Federal North – East Set -Up by Tamil National Alliance

by Saman Indrajith Tamils should not harbour any hopes of solutions for their problems through a federal set up in the North and the East, the Frontline Socialist Party said yesterday. Propaganda Secretary of the FSP Pubudu Jagoda, addressing a press conference at the Centre for Society and Religion in Maradana, said the TNA was …

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Cabinet Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe Faults TNA Leaders For Entering Army camp Without Following Due Procedure

By Sirimantha Ratnasekera Skills Development and Vocational Training Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe yesterday said nobody could enter an army camp without obtaining prior permission. Addressing a press conference at the Department of Government Information, the minister said that there were procedures to be followed when someone entered an army camp.

The Sinhalese, the Tamils or The Muslims Living In The Island Belong To a Common Stage Of ‘Civilization’

By Laksiri Fernando “How is an antagonism to be resolved? By making it impossible.”– Karl Marx There is no mystery about ethnicity. Ethnicity is a product of social history and there is no eternity about it. Evolution of a language, sometimes a religion or religious beliefs, living together in a geographical proximity, development of a …

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Lanka’s Ace Netball Shooter Tharjini Sivalingam Out of National Side Due to Problems with Current Netball Administrators and Coach.

By Harsha Amarasinghe CT Sports: The Sri Lanka netball team is expected to take part in the Asian Championship in July with a fairly inexperienced and weak side sans any senior players. Sri Lanka Netball Association (SLNA) sent a similar side to the World Cup in Australia last year who ended up losing all their …

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Company Owned by Person Close to Central Bank Governor arjuna Mahendran Involved in Central Bank EPF Racket Alleges JVP

The JVP yesterday said a Central Bank racket had resulted in a huge loss to the Employee’s Provident Fund (EPF). Addressing a press conference held at party headquarters former JVP MP cum convenor of the Anti-Corruption Voice, Wasantha Samarasinghe alleged that a company owned by a person close to the Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran …

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“TNA Always Stood for Amalgamation of Northern and Eastern Provinces” says TNA Parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran

By Shamindra Ferdinando Tamil National Alliance (TNA) spokesperson M. A. Sumanthiran, MP yesterday told The Island that a resolution seeking the re-merger of the Eastern Province with the Northern Province adopted by the TNA-led Northern Provincial Council (NPC) on Friday (April 22) could be considered by the government as well as all other political parties …

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“Extremists Asking for Federalism Must Be Ignored and Not taken Seriously” says Higher Education Minister Lakshman Kiriella

By Cyril Wimalasurendre Extremists were asking for federalism. Such moves should not be taken so seriously. They must be ignored, said Higher Education and Highways Minister Lakshman Kiriella in Kandy on Saturday 23. The Minister said the media should not should not use such demands to set the country ablaze. Addressing the media, Minister Kiriella …

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Udaya Gammanpila Challenges Pujitha Jayasundara to Arrest Opposition Leader R.Sampanthan and Prove IGP Has a Backbone.

By Harischandra Gunaratna and Dhammika Salawathura Leader of Pivithuru Hela Urumaya, Udaya Gammanpila yesterday said that leader of the Tamil National Alliance R. Sampandan and some members of his party who threatened national security recently by trying to forcibly enter the army’s Gajaba detachment in Paravipachchan in Killinochchi and threatened the officers and thus obstructed …

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Creating a Liberal Society in Sri Lanka May be Easier Than Creating a Liberal Culture in Our Universities

By Ranga Jayasuriya Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has called for creating a liberal culture in our universities. A noble goal, indeed. Still better if he advocates a liberal society at large in this country. That would be much easier since his government has at its disposal a parliamentary majority to make laws and policy and …

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Rajapaksa-led Joint Opposition Posturing Must Be Treated with Rightful Contempt It Deserves

By Kishali Pinto Jayawardene The regular posturing by the so-called Rajapaksa-led Joint Opposition calling for the upholding of democratic rights in Sri Lanka must be treated with the rightful contempt that it deserves. Condemning hypocritical posturing Even as sanctimonious hypocrisy drips off the tongues of these worthies when they speak with fervor on multifarious topics, …

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Being Sidelined Under the Rajapaksa Regime Proved an Advantage to Pujith Jayasundara in Becoming IGP

By Rasika Jayakody Pujith Jayasundara, now a household name, made history last week as the first Sri Lakan Police Chief appointed by the Constitutional Council set up under the provisions of the 19th Amendment. The Police Department, an efficient and a well-respected body at the time Sri Lanka received Independence from British rule, was systematically …

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International Outcry urging Immediate release in Nepal of Prominent Journalist Kanak Mani Dixit Gathers Momentum

Editors and media figures as well as intellectuals and scholars from India, Nepal, Bangladesh, UK, US, Australia and Sri Lanka have called for the release of Himal editor and prominent Nepali journalist Kanak Mani Dixit who was arrested yesterday in Katmandu by anti-graft officials. The following is the text of the statement: It is with …

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Why The Arrest of Fearless Journalist Kanak Mani Dixit in Nepal On Charges Of Corruption is absurd

By Gouri Chatterjee The year was 2001 but the twin towers in New York were still standing. We could afford to be interested in, no, fascinated by the story of one man’s fortitude in the face of extreme adversity, surviving a dangerous fall in the Himalayas, living not only to tell the tale but going …

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Was President Sirisena Referring to Arjuna Mahendran and R.Paskaralingam in his Polonnaruwa Speech Criticising “Economic Experts”?

By Gagani Weerakoon President Maithripala Sirisenain at his home town Polonnaruwa addressing his people to greet them for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year said that he will not allow so-called economic experts to burden the public with increased taxes. He added that some experts are not aware of the suffering of the people and …

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“Federal Solution”Of Tamil National Alliance is Actually an Independent State in all but Name.

By C.A.Chandraprema As the political atmosphere in the South heated up with all the issues relating to May Day, another bombshell came from the north with the Northern Provincial Council adopting a resolution calling for a federal state for the north and east. Though the government kicked off the constitutional reform process earlier this month, …

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Harin Fernando Orders Sri Lanka Telecom Board to Keep Ministry Informed of all Transactions and Projects to Ensure Transparency by Telecom.

By Chris Kamalendran Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure Minister Harin Fernando has directed the board of Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) to ensure that the ministry is kept informed of all transactions and projects ensuring transparency. The directive came amidst growing differences between the minister and the board as to who was in charge of the multi-million …

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SLFP Maithripala Faction of SLFP and Mahinda Loyalists Combat Each Other Over May Day Rally

By C.A.Chandreprema Never in living memory has a May Day rally assumed such importance. From the time things began limping back to normal after the extended New Year holidays, the topic of discussion even in the news bulletins has been the May Day rally organized by the Joint Opposition. Those who talk about May Day …

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Constitutional Council Accused of “Bluffing the People” Over Appointment of new Inspector – general of Police.

The Constitutional Council’s selection of a new IGP through a secret ballot carried out in the absence of two of the three civil society representatives was slammed Saturday as a “historic blunder.” An activist group known as Decent Lanka 2015 which includes journalist Kusal Perera and lawyer Srinath Perera accused the CC chaired by Speaker …

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Prominent Journalist Kanak Mani Dixit Arrested and Detained in Nepal;SAHR Urges Nepal Govt to Release Dixit

The South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) organization has expressed deep concern over the arrest and detention of prominent Journalist and Human rights activist Kanak Mani Dixit in Nepal. SAHR has urged the government of Nepal to immediately release Mr. Dixit The text of a press release issued by SAHR is as follows – SAHR …

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Northern Provincial Council Passes Resolution Calling for North -East Merger and Federalism Presented by Chief Minister Wigneswaran

By Dinasena Ratugamage The Northern Provincial Council yesterday passed a resolution sponsored by the TNA to urge the government to introduce provisions to the proposed new constitution enabling the merger of the North and the East and granting federalism. The TNA had appointed a special committee which met people and representatives of civil organisations in …

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SLFP Intensifies Efforts to Sabotage Kirillapone May Day Rally Organized by Pro-Mahinda Opposition

by Shamindra Ferdinando The SLFP yesterday announced plans to hold interviews next week to select electoral organisers in an obvious bid to discourage dissidents, particularly members of Provincial Councils from attending Joint Opposition May Day rally at Kirulapone. SLFP General Secretary and Agriculture Minister Duminda Dissanayake yesterday said that the first round of interviews would …

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Full Text of Agreement Signed by SWRD Bandaranaike and SJV Chelvanayagam on July 26th 1957.

Full Text of Bandaranaike – Chelvanayagam Pact, 1957 Part A Representatives of the Federal Party have had a series of discussions with the Prime Minister in an effort to resolve the differences of opinion that had been growing and creating tension. At an early stage of these conversations it became evident that it was not …

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Sri Lankan Govt Sets The Record Straight On Much Criticised Arcelor Mittal 65,000 Houses Project in North

The Sri Lankan Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs has issued a statement in response to criticism levelled against the Govt approved project of constructing 65,000 houses for war affected civilians in the North through Arcelor Mittal owned by Indian steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal In the statement issued by the ministry …

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Sri Lankan Govt Defends Controversial Housing Deal With Indian Tycoon Lakshmi Mittal

By P.K.Balachandran The Sri Lankan Ministry of Resettlement on Friday defended its controversial decision to ask ArcelorMittal, owned by Indian steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, to build 65,000 houses for the war displaced in the Tamil-speaking Northern and Eastern Provinces. Among the bidders, only ArcelorMittal had the required financial wherewithal, and the houses which it is …

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Clash of Titans on May Day in Sri Lanka will See Grandstanding like Hitler and Churchill During world war 2

By Winston de Valliere While Political parties and Trade Unions flex their muscles to observe May Day in just a week’s time, the enormity of the explosive emotions sizzling just beneath the surface of the two major political parties can be expected to manifest themselves in grandstanding such as that seen in the days of …

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President and Prime Minister Decide to Exempt Medicine, Water, Electricity and Essential Items From Value Added Tax Increase

By Chamodi Gunawardana Following discussions at the Cabinet meeting, VAT exemptions have been made to several sectors, including essential goods, medicines and electricity, in an attempt to protect the public with taxes, the Government said yesterday. The exemptions came after President Maithripala Sirisena urged the Government not to burden the public with taxes, State Finance …

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Improved Human Rights Situation in South but not as much in North -East SriLanka States UK Report

By P.K.Balachandran The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has reported an improvement in the human rights situation in Sri Lanka since Maithripala Sirisena was elected President in January 2015, though people in the Tamil-speaking North and East continued to face some harassments reminiscent of the war years. Listing Sri Lanka among the “Human Rights Priority …

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European Commission to Propose Lifting of Ban on Fisheries Exports from Sri Lanka to European Union

By Uditha Jayasinghe The European Commission yesterday decided to propose the lifting of the ban on fisheries exports from Sri Lanka to the European Union, after over a year of engagement with the Government. Sri Lanka’s proposal on Thursday will be discussed by the European Union (EU) Fisheries Council at the next available opportunity; the …

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Filmmaker D.B.Nihalsinghe of “Welikathara” Film and “Dimuthu Muthu”Telefilm fame Passes Away

One of Sri Lanka’s foremost filmmakers, D. B. Nihalsingha passed away yesterday afternoon after a brief illness. He was 77. Nihalsingha was the only Sri Lankan to be honoured with the title, ‘Professor in Cinema and Television’ Having made several award winning movies including Welikathara, Maldeniye Simion, Ridee Nimnaya and Kelimadala Nihalsingha made the country’s …

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Persecution of Christians in Sri-Lanka Continues Unabated Under The New Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt

Attacks against Christians in Sri Lanka have continued following the change of government in 2015, according to a leading human rights lawyer. A growing number of cases are now linked to local government officials. And Buddhist monks continue to be at the forefront of the persecution. Officials have been closing churches and prayer meetings. There …

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Buddhist Extremists Block Sri Lankan Christians From Using Public Cemeteries

By Lorraine Caballero Sri Lankan Christians cannot bury their dead in public cemeteries because Buddhist monks are stopping them from doing so, charity group Release International says. The persecution of Sri Lankan Christians has now reached the level where Buddhist monks have joined forces with nationalists and prevented Christians from burying their dead in public …

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More Than 120 Anti-Christian Incidents Documented in Just Over a Year Since Sirisena was Elected as Sri Lanka President

By Harry Farley Sri Lanka has a turbulent history. From multiple invasions and colonial rule to growing nationalism and ethnic conflict, the small island nation has seen it all. The country’s ’30 year war’ saw violence between the majority Sinhalese ethnic group and the minority Tamil Tiger rebels. However, after the Tamil’s final defeat in …

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President Sirisena Gets Govt to Exempt Electricity, Water and Essential Items from Value Added Tax(VAT) Increase From May 2nd

by Zacki Jabbar The proposal to increase Value Added Tax from 11 to 15 percent would not be imposed on essential items, the government said yesterday. Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne told the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing yesterday that there was no difference of opinion between President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on maintaining …

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Is Nephew Ranil Now Doing to China What His Uncle JR Earlier Did to India?

By Upul Joseph Fernando There is an amazing similarity between the trip to Sri Lanka by Rajiv Gandhi to sign the Indo-Lanka Agreement in 1987 and the visit to China by Ranil to escape from the Chinese Debt Trap. Ranil’s uncle JR agreed to sign the Indo-Lanka Agreement in 1987 because there was nothing else …

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Pro-Rajapaksa SLFP Group Defies Party Leader Sirisena Again By Holding Separate May day Rally

By Rasika Jayakody “Power is given only to him who dares to stoop and take it … one must have the courage to dare.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky –“Crime and Punishment” Sri Lanka Freedom Party, headed by President Maithripala Sirisena, is now running into a fresh issue with the pro-Rajapaksa group deciding to hold a separate May …

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Public Perception of the Government’s Commitment to Eradicating Corruption is Worrying

By Dr.Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu In the transition from the populist authoritarian recent past to government conducted with governance, public trust and confidence in institutions and processes of government is pivotal. That trust and confidence is what provides the oxygen for the transition and the reform it entails – a diminution of it constituting a warning sign …

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People Getting Impatient Over Political Administration Dragging its Feet In Bringing Corrupt Elements of Past Regime to Justice

The By Vishwamithra1984 “There is no den in the wide world to hide a rogue. Commit a crime and the earth is made of glass. Commit a crime, and it seems as if a coat of snow fell on the ground, such as reveals in the woods the track of every partridge, and fox, and …

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Constitutional Council Has Lost Trust of the People After IGP Appointment says Udaya Gammanpila

By Harischandra Gunaratna Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) leader Udaya Gammanpila yesterday said, according to article 41(C1) of the country’s constitution, when the President recommends someone for a post to the Constitutional Council (CC), the job of the CC was to either endorse it or reject it. A few months ago, Gammanpila recalled that the President …

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Having Lunch in New York With the Transnational Tamil Eelam Prime Minister Rudrakumaran

by Sarah Stodder When I step out of the rain and into the restaurant, Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran is already waiting for me. Though I’m seven minutes early, I arrive to find the exiled Sri Lankan lawyer, known to his compatriots as Rudra, sitting at a corner table and peacefully watching the deluge outside. We’re within walking …

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GMOA Gen-Secy Dr. Nalinda Herath’s Anti-Indian “Malaria” Remarks are Racist,Xenophobic and Bigoted

By Ranga Jayasuriya The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) spokesperson wound up the year on the Sinhala calendar in an ugly style. A day before the ‘Parana Avurudda’, Dr. Nalinda Herath, the GMOA’s General Secretary took cheap advantage of a reported detection of a malaria patient, who happened to be an Indian worker in Sri …

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President Sirisena will send home Officials and Economic Experts Recommending Measures such as Increasing Value Added Tax

President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday vowed not to allow any tax increases that would burden the general public. Addressing a ceremony at Polonnaruwa to mark the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, the President said there were media reports that the government was preparing to increase the Value Added Tax (VAT) on essential commodities. But, he would …

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President Sirisena Stands by his Solid Adherence to the Rajapaksa Government during the War and is Opposed to the Western Witch Hunt

By Prof.Rajiva Wijesinha (Text of a presentation by Prof Rajiva Wijesinha at the ‘Afkar-e-Taza: Rescuing the Past, Shaping the Future’ Seminar held in Lahore on April 3rd 2016) The world seems to be at boiling point at present given the increasing impact of terrorist activity. Civilian populations are subject to ruthless attacks in Africa, the …

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TNA Leader Sampanthan wants President Sirisena to Review Govt Initiative to Build 65,000 Houses for War Displaced in North

Tamil National alliance Leader and Leader of the Opposition Rajavarothayam Sampanthan has expressed concerns over the envisaged project by arcelor Mittal to construct 65,000 houses for war displaced families in the north and has urged the Government to urgently review the proposed govt initiative. Sampanthan in a letter sent to President Maithripala Sirisena has acknowledged …

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“Stop The Proposed Bridge Over Palk Strait Before It’s Too Late” – An Open Letter to the President, and the Prime Minister

By K. Godage An Open Letter to the President, and the Prime Minister Your Excellencies, Tamil Nadu appears determined to annex Sri Lanka. This news is certainly not the most auspicious note on which to commence our New Year. The Indian Union Minister Radhakrishnan had said this week that the Centre was firm in its …

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Legendary 93 Year old Hindi Film Actor Dilip Kumar Admitted to Mumbai Lilavati Hospital for respiratory Problems

BY S VENKAT NARAYAN Veteran Bollywood actor Dilip Kumar, aged 93, has been admitted to Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai. “Dilip Kumarji was admitted to Lilavati hospital at 2am on Saturday with respiratory problems. He’s not in ICU (Intensive Care Unit),” Dr Jalil Parkar of Lilavati hospital told ANI news agency. “Doctors are keeping a close …

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India and Sri Lanka May Finalise Agreement to Build Bridge Linking Both Countries Discloses Indian Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari

India and Sri Lanka could soon finalise an agreement for building a bridge connecting both the countries, Indian union Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Monday. “The project is under consideration, it is under discussion. But nothing has been finalised,” Mr Gadkari told journalists at the Foreign Correspondents Club in New …

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Rajapaksas Conspire To Create Split Between President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

An unscheduled meeting that took place last week between Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and former President, MP Mahinda Rajapaksa managed to create ripples in political circles, especially among members of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). The Rajapaksas have now resorted to the latest conspiracy of trying to drive a wedge between the Prime Minister …

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Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt in Practice Directly Contradicts Its Good Governance Rhetoric

By Kishali Pinto Jayawardene There is a view taken by some who are engaged in the process of constitutional reform that a new or radically revised constitutional document for Sri Lanka will be the proverbial panacea for many if not all the country’s ills. This is however dangerously misleading. The question is simple. If provisions …

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Low and Middle Income Groups Will Be Hit Hard By Govt Decision to Increase Value Added Tax (VAT) To 15% From May 2nd

Low and middle income groups will be worst hit by the Government’s move to raise Value Added Tax (VAT) to 15 percent from May 2. Set to rise are their telephone, water and electricity bills. This is on top of their having to pay more for consumer items, medical bills and even private education. The …

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Preliminary Report of Moratuwa University Experts Finds Many Flaws in Arcelor Mittal 65,000 Housing Project For North

By Namini Wijedasa The proposed steel houses for the war-affected have inadequate foundations, insufficient roof support, are at risk of corrosion, are poorly ventilated and have no hearth and chimney, Moratuwa Universtiy experts have found after a detailed technical study. The controversial dwellings — erected by the Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal — also have poor or non-existent …

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Kitchen Blowtorch in Luggage of Sri Lankan Chefs Returning from Culinary Exhibition in Singapore Caused Security Scare For Sri Lankan Airlines Flight UL 309

A kitchen blowtorch in the checked-in luggage of a team of Sri Lankan chefs returning after a culinary exhibition in Singapore led to the recall of a SriLankan Airline flight soon after it had taken off from the Changi International Airport on Thursday. The drama unfolded when five Sri Lankan chefs were returning to Colombo …

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Pragmatic India Prepared to Compete With China Where It Must and Co-operate Where It Can

by C. Raja Mohan As the Indian public discourse on China continues to oscillate between unmitigated romanticism and unreasonable hostility, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has settled down to a pragmatic engagement with Beijing. The NDA government’s three-way dialogue with the Chinese leadership next week, involving External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and …

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Will India Revive Relations With Rajapaksas to Teach Maithri – Ranil Govt a Lesson ?

By Upul Joseph Fernando India maintained strict silence on Ranil’s visit to China. Only India is aware of the secret behind that silence. Subsequent to Mahinda’s defeat, his brother former Defence Secretary Gotabaya said at a conference that Indian Defence Adviser Ajit Doval had told him to halt the Colombo Port City (Chinese) Project. Gotabaya …

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“Yahapalanaya” Govt of Maithri-Ranil in Stunning Policy Turnaround on Budget Provisions and China Relations.

By C.A.Chandraprema Sri Lanka entered the traditional New Year with the yahapalana government literally standing on its head. The present government described its first mini-budget in January last year as a Robin Hood budget where the rich were robbed to give concessions to the poor. Indeed there was no doubt that in the early days …

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Will India Not Go Ahead With Colombo Proposed Indo-Sri Lanka Economic and Technology Cooperative Agreement (ETCA) as a “Warning” To Sri Lanka?

By Gagani Weerakoon The Yahapalana Government lead by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, seems to have taken a complete U-turn in its foreign policy adopted over a year ago, with the latter taking up his maiden visit to China last week to negotiate inking several strategic economic agreements. Upon reaching China, Prime …

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Sri Lankan Airlines Flight UL 309 Ordered to Return While in Mid- Air to Changi Airport by Singapore Authorities For Security reasons

SriLankan Airlines flight UL 309 was instructed to return to Changi International Airport by the Singapore authorities due to security reasons soon after it was airborne to Colombo on April 14. The flight later arrived in Colombo at 0042 hrs on April 15, 2016 with a total delay of 3 hours. Issuing a statement, the …

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Finance Ministry Announces 15 % Increase in Value Added Tax(VAT) from May 2nd 2016

The Value Added Tax (VAT) is to be increased to 15% with effect from May 02, 2016, the Finance Ministry announced. Accordingly, VAT will also be imposed on supply of telecommunication services, import or supply of telecom equipment or machinery, high tech equipment including copper cables for telecom industry and supply of healthcare services.

Megapolis and Western Development Ministry Consultant Vidya Amarapala Resigns Due To “Panama Papers” Exposure Controversy

Megapolis and Western Development Ministry today said though there was a concerted effort by certain interested parties to link Ministry Consultant Vidya Amarapala to the so-called black money scandal ‘Panama Papers’ he had never been involved in such illegal transactions and added, Mr. Amarapala had decided to resign from his post to facilitate any possible …

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“Arcelor Mittal Given Tender Because Local Contractors or Investors Are Incapable of Undertaking Project to Build 65,000 Houses “Explains Cabinet Minister DM Swaminathan

The construction of 65,000 houses for conflict affected families in the North-East will begin in the next two months and the selection of beneficiaries is being carried out by District and Divisional Secretaries of the two provinces right now, a senior Cabinet Minister said. Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Minister D.M.Swaminathan speaking exclusively to …

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Construction of China Funded Colombo Port City Project Likely to Commence in May 2016.

Work on the Colombo Port City Project will begin in May this year, State Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs Niroshan Perera said. The Minister said that all agreements had been finalized. “Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who handles the subject of National Polices and Economic Affairs had finalized all agreements during his recent State …

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The Difference Between Uncle” Juius Richard Jayewardene and “Nephew” Ranil Wickremesinghe

By Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka Sp economic reality dawned and the UNP leadership had to eat humble fortune cookie. China is back in the game in a major way, which is a good thing because it partially and temporarily stabilizes the economic crisis while re-balancing the island’s recently lopsided external relations. Ironically, the restored Chinese footprint may …

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If Dudley Senanayake Had Said “Yes” To Marriage Proposal, Sirima Ratwatte May Not Have Wedded SWRD Bandaranaike

By Charnika Imbulana Today (13 April 2016) marks the 43rd death anniversary of Dudley Shelton Senanayake, the second Prime Minister of our country, then Ceylon. On this date every year as a tribute to this gentleman politician, his life is reminisced. I have in these columns for many years on such occasion given details of …

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The story of a weeping island… Sri Lanka’s lamentable limp towards progress

By Vishwamithra1984 “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” ~George Bernard Shaw The roads look narrower than they really are. It’s the optics. Not that they have shrunk in their measure; the traffic has …

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Muted Role Of Main Opposition TNA Deprives Itself From Integrating With National Level Politics

By Ranga Jayasuriya It has been a long time since we last heard from the Opposition, I mean the TNA-led main Opposition. Even when there are occasional isolated voices, such as by the National List MP M.A. Sumanthiran, they too appear to be too little, too late. Last time the Opposition Leader Rasavarodhayam Sampanthan spoke …

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If Corrective Action Is Not Taken To Change Worrisome Trajectory Of This Govt a Rajapaksa-Return May Occur

By Kishali Pinto Jayawardene From a strategic point of view, it was a great sleight of hand for this Government to have successfully ‘packaged’ the 19th Amendment to the Constitution as a notable constitutional gain for Sri Lanka, despite its many problematic provisions. Some of these seemingly progressive but actually deadening provisions include bringing back …

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Evolving Sri Lanka Foreign Policy Recognizes Country Cannot Ignore or Trifle With Dominant China Even At Risk of Antagonizing India

By Don Manu There is no such thing as a free Chinese takeaway; and, if the visiting Lankan high powered delegation led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe fancied otherwise, the Chinese hosts made pretty certain the guests got the message crystal clear when the fortune cookie, opened after the diplomatic feast of niceties was over, …

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Move to Give President Sirisena’s Brother and SL Telecom Chairman Kumarasinghe Sirisena a 725,000 Rupee Housing Allowance Challenged by Minister Harin Fernando

A decision reportedly taken by the Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) board to approve a huge monthly housing allowance of Rs. 725,000 for its Chairman P.G. Kumarasinghe Sirisena has been challenged by Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure Minister Harin Fernando. The minister told the Sunday Times yesterday that he had told the Prime Minister that the figure …

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Will Sri Lanka Become a Puppet Regime of the US Like Philippines And Many Others?

By Lasanda Kurukulasuriya The red-carpet welcome accorded to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in Beijing on his just-concluded official visit, and the understandings reached, send a reassuring signal that China continues to be an all-weather friend to Sri Lanka. This is in spite of the uncertainties that characterized the relationship during the 2015 presidential election campaign …

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Is Fourth Coming of Mahinda An Effort to Save His Country Or His Degenerate Family From The Laws Of The Land?

By Gomin Dayasri Look around and pick a leader capable of pulling the country fallen into an awful rot; landingin the bin is a responsibility shared. To reach a level of sensibility is the initial task-not to touch greatness, bespoken on political platforms. It discounts politicians that enjoyed/s power – in past and present tense. …

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“Colombo Port City And Megapolis Projects Are Opportunities For Everyone To Make Money” – Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said his government has addressed India’s security concerns over the newly-modified US$ 1.5 billion Colombo Port City project. Addressing a press conference in Beijing before wrapping up his four-day visit to China, the Prime Minister ruled out chances of an India-China clash to gain control of the Indian Ocean. “There …

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Colombo Wants Beijing to Invest $ 8 Billion Owed By Sri Lanka To China for Equity In Infrastructure Projects

Sri Lanka has asked China to swap some of the $8 billion it owes Beijing for equity in infrastructure projects and offered to sell stakes in its companies to Chinese ones, Colombo officials said on Saturday. The ouster of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who steered Sri Lanka toward China until his 2015 election defeat, was a …

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Krishantha Prasad Cooray Assumes Duties As New Chairman Of Hotel Developers (Lanka) Plc,- The Owning Company Of Hilton Colombo.

Krishantha Prasad Cooray has finally assumed duties as the new Chairman of Hotel Developers (Lanka) Plc, the owning company of Hilton Colombo. Cooray is a private sector executive counting years of experience in the corporate sector and an academic background in Political Science and Law. He also serves on the Board of DFCC Bank. His …

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