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Sri Lanka's Tamil leaders call for UN help
Sri Lanka's ethnic Tamil leaders on Sunday asked the top UN human rights official to help determine the fate of more than 4 000 civilians reported missing in the country's long civil war amid the government's assertion that most of them are probably dead

The UN official, Zeid Raad al-Hussein, met the chief minister of Sri Lanka's Northern Province, the centre of the civil war, which ended in 2009. Zeid is on a four-day visit to Sri Lanka to review measures taken by the government to investigate alleged war abuses during the war. (News 24)




Sri Lanka has made a formal request from the IMF – media release
Sri Lanka has made a formal request from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout package, according to the Associated Foreign Press (AFP).

According to AFP, officials have noted that the bailout plan is aimed at helping the struggling economy, after a sharp slowdown in growth and with its budget deficit, widening. (News1st)

Sushma conveys Tamil aspirations to Sri Lanka
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, “quietly” conveyed to the Sri Lanka government that New Delhi would expect it to ensure that the new constitution of the island nation met the aspirations of the country’s minority Tamils.

Swaraj did not make any public comment about political rights of minority Tamils of Sri Lanka or the process of reconciliation being pursued by country’s new government during her visit to the country – ostensibly in accordance with New Delhi’s fresh approach in its engagement with Colombo. The press release issued by the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi also did not have any reference to the reconciliation process or the issue of political rights of Tamils. (Deccan Herald.com)

Nationalists protest against UN rights chief’s visit to Sri Lanka
Hundreds of hardline nationalists gathered outside the United Nations’ office in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo on Saturday to protest against a visit by the UN human rights chief who will assess Sri Lanka’s progress in prosecuting alleged war crimes.

The UN says both Sri Lanka’s military and the Tamil Tiger rebels most likely committed war crimes during a 26-year war which ended in 2009. A UN resolution calls for post-war reconciliation and that all alleged war crimes be investigated and tried in special courts by international judges. (DAWN)

Natural for resolution to require further elucidation - Zeid
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein says that there is a general acknowledgement in the North that there has been improvement and that, however it still requires more effort and concentrated support.

“Well it’s very clear that the people of the Northern Province are frustrated and I think there is a general acknowledgement that there is improvement that we’ve seen. It still requires more of an effort more of a concentrated support,” he told reporters after arriving in Jaffna today. (Ada Derana)

U.N. rights chief meets families of Sri Lanka’s war victims
The United Nations human rights chief on Sunday travelled to the north and east of Sri Lanka to assess the country’s progress in prosecuting alleged war crimes.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein is the first senior U.N. official in two-and-a-half years to visit the northern conflict zones of the island’s 26-year war which ended in May 2009. (euronews)

USF to be or not to be an MP: decision today
The decision on whether or not to appoint Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka as a member of parliament will taken today by the United National Party's working committee.

Party sources said the working committee would meet the party leader -- Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe -- at Sirikotha this afternoon. (Daily Mirror)

Tamils ready to take ten steps if Sinhalese took one - Vigneswaran
The Chief Minister of the Northern Province, C.V. Vigneswaran, today expressed appreciation of the government’s decision to sing the national anthem in Tamil at the Independence Day ceremony held in Colombo.

He stated that although it is a very small action in the name reconciliation it should be appreciated and that now a background has been created to foster unity and brotherhood between communities. (Ada Derana)

I didn't influence Embilipitiya widow: Ven. Omalpe Thera
Rejecting allegations that Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thera influenced the widow of Embilipitiya man, who died in a fall, by giving her money, the Thera said he only tried to help the woman after a donor from England offered to donate money to the victim’s family.

Ven. Sobitha Thera said a donor, Udaya Peiris, who lives in England, had asked the thera over the phone whether he could help the Embilipitiya victim’s family after which the thera mediated to help them. (Daily Mirror)

TN parties express concern over Maithripala's stand
DMK and MDMK today expressed concern over Sri Lankan President Maithiripala Sirisena's reported statement that his country's new constitution will not have the concept of 'Federation,' saying it will affect the ethnic Tamils.

Seeking India's intervention in the matter, DMK President M Karunanidhi said Sirisena had in a recent meeting of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) 'categorically' stated that "there will be no place" for the concept of Federation in the new Constitution that seeks to replace the one adopted in 1978 by the island republic (Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka’s Northern Province Governor on the way out?
The Northern Province, where Tamils constitute a predominant section of the population, may soon get a new Governor.

The incumbent, H.M.G.S. Palihakkara, has conveyed to the government about his willingness to leave the post. Enquiries made in Colombo and Jaffna reveal that the government is expected to make an announcement shortly in this regard. (Economic Times)

Sushma Swaraj to pay two-day visit to Sri Lanka from tomorrow
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will travel to Colombo tomorrow on a two-day visit during which she will hold talks with the top Sri Lankan leadership and attend the 9th Indo-Lanka Joint Commission meeting to discuss key bilateral and regional issues.

On her second visit to Sri Lanka within a year, Swaraj and her Lankan counterpart Mangala Samaraweera will co-chair the Joint Commission meet which will be held tomorrow in Colombo. (Economic Times)

Black flag campaign in Vavuniya
A group of Tamils in Vavuniya held a black flag campaign this morning saying the Tamils in the Northern Province were unable to celebrate the 68th Independence Day in freedom.

The protest was launched by the Collective of the Families of Disappeared Persons and the citizens committee in the Vavuniya district. (Daily Mirror)

New party will definitely be formed- Mahinda
A new political party will definitely be formed, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa says.

The observation was made during an event held at the Abeyarama Temple in Narahenpita. (Ada Derana)

FM Sarath Fonseka not entitled to be a parliamentarian
Death is often not an instance of merriment for any, unless you are one who is aspiring for a parliamentary seat. In this country of dirty politics and sagacious politicos, it is quite easy to manipulate the law to fool the people.

However, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”. (Colombo Telegraph)

Sicille Kotelawala arrested at BIA
Former Ceylinco Chairman Lalith Kothelawala’s wife Sicille Kotelawala was arrested by the Immigration and Emigration Department officials at the Bandaranaike International Airport this afternoon on her arrival from Dubai.

Immigration and Emigration Controller General M.N. Ranasinghe said she was handed over to the CID. (Daily Mirror)

With SF’s ‘Re-Entry’ what will happen to the attack on Keith And the killing of Journos
With Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka joining the United National Front, questions have resurfaced about his involvement in attacks on media persons, including alleged abductions and killings of journalists, and whether justice will be meted out.

According to a leaked US diplomatic cable dated June 2, 2008, Ambassador Robert Blake wrote: “ The Defense Secretary summoned two media workers from the government-owned publishing house. He reportedly harangued them for over two hours for participating in a rally to protest the abduction and beating of defense journalist Keith Noyahr. The journalists told us that Gotabaya told them that ‘groups that revere Army Commander Fonseka’ would kill them if they persisted in their campaign for media freedom.” (Colombo Telegraph)

National Anthem sung in Tamil
In what seems like a step forward for reconciliation, National Anthem was sung in Tamil language today as Sri Lanka celebrated 68th anniversary of gaining independence from British Monarchy

The government announced earlier that the National Anthem will be sung both in Sinhala and Tamil languages instigating opposition from various factions of the society. (CEYLON TODAY)

seems that the Island Online website is out of order or disabled. The website or the links to articles do not work now, while other Sri Lankan newspaper websites can be accessed. Is it a hacker attack or blocked by GOSL due to scything criticisms like the one below."

‘Traitors’ to ‘racists’
Politicians, intoxicated with power, vent their spleens on their critics the way tipplers heap abuse on the rocks they stumble over. The Rajapaksa government had many such elements, Mervyn Silva being one of them. They branded those who refused to toe their line ‘traitors’. The critics of the present administration are vilified as ‘racists’.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was in action in Parliament on Thursday! He flayed the media to his heart’s content. His diatribe may be dubbed a verbal madu waliga attack on journalists. Media reports on contradictory statements government leaders make on the proposed war crimes probe, among other things, had irked him beyond measure. The PM also faulted the media for not condemning Bodu Bala Sena General Secretary Ven. Galabodaatte Gnanasara Thera, who disrupted the Homagama Magistrate’s Court recently. He is entitled to his opinion and his right to criticise the media cannot be questioned. (The Island/Editorial)

FM Sarath Fonseka not entitled to be a parliamentarian
Death is often not an instance of merriment for any, unless you are one who is aspiring for a parliamentary seat. In this country of dirty politics and sagacious politicos, it is quite easy to manipulate the law to fool the people.

However, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”. (Colombo Telegraph)

‘President should be questioned, if outsiders appointed’
The legal expert and respected civil servant Prof. Nihal Jayawickrama said yesterday that according to the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, the Constitutional Council should question the President if outsiders are appointed bypassing the most senior officers to top posts.

The internationally renowned independent legal consultant said a complicated situation had arisen as procedures had not been formulated with regard to the appointments and recommendations made by the newly appointed Constitutional Council. (DailyMirror)

Sarath Fonseka joins Sri Lankan Government, likely to be inducted as minister
Sarath Fonseka, the Sri Lankan army general who vanquished the LTTE, today joined the ruling coalition amid indications that he may be inducted as a minister soon.

65-year-old Fonseka, whose Democratic Party signed an agreement to join the ruling United National Front for Good Governance, said he has "nothing to hide" and was willing to face a war crimes inquiry. (NDTV)

Major tourist hot spots in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, crowned as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, is home to some of the finest spectacles of natural beauty known to mankind. An island considered to be en route to paradise, surrounded by both the Indian Ocean and the mystique of an enduring and diverse history -- fascinates both the eyes and soul.

Arab, Portuguese, Dutch and British influences all in their own time have converged in the present day to leave a markedly distinct cultural flavor and experience; only to be found in countries with a colorful and impassioned past. (Business Standard)

Joint Opposition seeks to meet UNHRC Chief
The Joint Opposition had requested for a meeting with the visiting UNHRC Chief Zeid Al Hussein to express their opinion on the UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka, Joint Opposition’s Foreign Affairs Expert G.L. Peiris said on Wednesday.

Addressing a news briefing, he said that the Joint Opposition would express their displeasure over the UNHRC Chief’s selective approach towards Sri Lanka. (Daily Mirror)

Basil Rajapaksa arrives at FCID
Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa arrived at the FCID to give a statement, a short while ago on Wednesday morning (03), Ada Derana reporter said. (Ada Derana)

India, Sri Lanka ties have matured over time: Prez
The relationship between India and Sri Lanka has matured over time to include all areas of contemporary relevance, President Pranab Mukherjee said today.

Mukherjee has extended his greetings and felicitations to the government and people of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka on the eve of the 68th anniversary of their independence. (Korea Herald)

Why Sri Lanka is snapping up Japan's used eco cars
These days, visitors to Sri Lanka's largest city are in for an unexpected juxtaposition of old and new: On the one hand, colonial-era architecture and other vestiges of British rule; on the other, an abundance of shiny Japanese hybrids cruising the streets.

The sight came as something of a surprise to this reporter. After all, this was not Japan or the U.S. West Coast, where pervasive environmental awareness has created an ideal market for green vehicles. (Nikkei)

Man convicted in Germany for backing Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers
A Sri Lankan-born man received an 18-month suspended sentence in Germany on Tuesday for membership of the rebel group the Tamil Tigers which Germany considers a terrorist organisation.

The 53-year-old German national, identified only as Yogendran G. by the court in the northern city of Hamburg, was convicted of having raised funds in Germany from 2007-2009 for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). (Channel NewsAsia)

I have not been invited- MR
Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday that, though the government had finalised arrangements to hold the 68th Independence Day celebrations at the Galle Face Green, he had not yet been invited to the event.

Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa said today that, though the government had finalised arrangements to hold the 68th Independence Day celebrations at the Galle Face Green, he had not yet been invited to the event. (Daily Mirror)

Fmr. Embilipitiya ASP arrested by CID
The former ASP of Embilipitiya Police, D.W.C. Dharmaratne, has been arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in connection with the recent death of a youth during a clash with police in Embilipitiya, sources told Ada Derana.

The Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) was summoned by the CID to record a statement this morning and was reportedly arrested afterwards. (Ada Derana)

Sri Lanka: The country that supplies eyes
Bandages cover Paramon Malingam's right eye. A tear appears in the left one. It is the relief of a very lucky man. "I thought I was going to live the rest of my life with one eye," he says.

Thirteen years ago, Malingam, a shop owner from central Sri Lanka, cut his eye with steel wire. Last year, he injured the same eye with a piece of wood. After both accidents, a new cornea from a donor saved his sight. (Pulitzer Center)

Woman self-immolates at Colombo -Central Hospital
A woman has committed suicide by self –immolation inside a restroom of Colombo –Cenreal Hospital in Maligawatta police division yesterday.

The woman has attended a clinic held at the hospital prior to the incident, Police Media Unit said. (CEYLON TODAY)

can't trust Dilip says Amaraweera
Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said he can’t give any ministerial powers to State Fisheries Minister Dilip Wedaarachchi (UNP) citing that he (Amaraweera) could not place trust on him.

“Fisheries State Minister Wedaarachchi had said that he was never given any powers in the ministry. (Daily Mirror)

Take up fishermen issue with Sri Lanka, Jayalalithaa urges Modi
Voicing concern over detention of boats and gear of arrested Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy, Tamil Nadu government has sought Central intervention in securing their release, besides that of nine fishermen arrested recently.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that though Indian fishermen from her state arrested by Lankan Navy in 2015 had been released due to her “repeated requests and the Government of India’s efforts,” their gear had, however, not been given back. (The Hindu)

Sri Lanka's former first lady questioned over fraud allegations
Sri Lanka's former first lady Shiranthi Rajapakse was questioned by investigators on Monday over allegations of fraud during the previous regime.

Shiranthi, wife of former President Mahinda Rajapakse, appeared before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry Into Serious Acts of Fraud and Corruption (PRECIFAC) over allegations that she had instructed the Housing Ministry to allocate a house to her media secretary during his husband's presidency. (Shanghai Daily)

Tamils: Log on to southern situation
Terrorism has left a trail amongst the northern Tamils, feeling of a need for a separate state; brainwashed by the LTTE and kept alive by the remittances of the Diaspora.

With the Provincial Council positioned, dawned on the North the outdated Indian prescription was not the answer sought. A home remedy kept to present needs is wanted for the North: Should be baked in Colombo and flavoured in Jaffna to be sold. (Daily Mirror)

Jt. Opposition not surprised
The Joint Opposition stated yesterday that it did not come as a surprise to them that Lieutenant Yoshitha Rajapaksa was arrested and remanded last week.Parliamentarian Ranjith De Soysa told Ceylon Today that it had become a norm of late for the rule of law in the island to apply differently to individuals.

He further said that the Joint Opposition would be striving to ensure that the law was applied equally to all and was not manipulated or politically influenced in any way. (cEYLON TODAY)

The most exclusive new villa in Sri Lanka
Scattered along the south coast of Sri Lanka,fronting the crashing waves of the Andaman Sea, a hotel building boom is starting in this suddenly in demand island.

In contrast with the charming, culturally relevant boutique hotels that already exist with more in development, the nearby, just opened Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort exemplifies another hotel style that’s coming—a large, international/generic resort. (Forbes)

Political revenge should be confined to politicians -MR
Political revenge and witch hunting should be confined to politicians and not be extended to their families, former president Mahinda Rajapakse said after visiting his son Yoshitha Rajapakse at Welikada Prison, who was arrested on Saturday

Speaking to the media outside the magazine prison, Rajapakse said it would not matter if he was arrested and imprisoned in the government’s political witch hunt. (Daily Mirror)

UN Chief hopes Sri Lanka will stand by its commitment to UNHRC resolution
The United Nations Secretary‑General Ban Ki-moon has expressed hope that Sri Lankan government will abide by the commitment it made to the UN Human Rights Council in October last year when it co-sponsored the UN resolution.

Spokesperson for the Secretary-General Stephane Dujarric said the UN Chief "remains hopeful that the Sri Lankan Government stands by its commitments and fully implements the resolution." (Forbes)

3 luxe resort destinations in Sri Lanka to visit
Little Sri Lanka is a land with a multitude of experiences and this is seen in three resorts that feel like luxurious mini-destinations.

The stylish, lakeside 11-suite Tri, where villas have living roofs, is the cutting edge of the new Sri Lankan hospitality, which is flourishing in a time of peace after the government vanquished the revolutionary Tamil Tigers in 2009, and after the 2004 tsunami. (Straits Times)

Rohitha’s hard-hitting message on FB
Hours after the arrest of his brother Yoshitha Rajapaksa, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa's third son Rohitha in a Facebook post, allegedly warned the ‘Yahapalanaya’ government with the message: “Dear Yahapalanaya..... You just stood on the tail of THE lion, now don't expect the lion, not to rip u in to parts.” (Daily Mirror)

Fonseka to join UNP
Democratic Party Leader, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka will join with United National Party (UNP), political sources say.

General Secretary of UNP, Kabir Hashim has invited Fonseka to join the party. (Asian Mirror)

Sri Lanka increases taxes on canned mackerel imports
Sri Lanka will impose taxes on the imports of tinned mackerel, under a proposal brought to cabinet by Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, reports Lanka Business Online.

In 2013 taxes on imported canned fish were increased to LKR 100 per kilogram, in a bid to encourage local production, though this was reduced to LKR 50 as a concession to customers in 2015. This tax will now go back up to LKR 100 (undercurrentnews)

Embilipitiya clash: police inaction disgrace to the rule of law: Lawyer
Any arrests have not yet been made in connection with the alleged murder of a man who died during a clash with the police in Embilipitiya, it was reported.

The attorney who appears on behalf of the wife of the deceased stressed that the failure to arrest the persons who are in the spotlight due to their alleged involvement in the incident gives a bad image of the Sri Lanka Police, since a court in Embilipitiya has already ruled their arrest. (Ada Derana)

Sand removed from ASP’s swimming pool
The sand placed in the swimming pool at Sri Lanka Labour Party Leader and Businessman A.S.P. Liyanage’s residence in Rajagiriya was removed this morning under the supervision of Colombo Crime Division (CCD) Chief Vijith Gunaratne and the Rajagiriya Police.

Mr. Liyanage had on an earlier occasion complained to the police about reports that gold and cash bags were hidden under sand. (Daily Mirror)

New Delhi risks losing World T20 after Sri Lanka game moved
New Delhi risked losing its World Twenty20 games in March and April after India cricket authorities ruled out the city as a venue for a match between India and Sri Lanka next month.

Because the Delhi and District Cricket Association failed to clear up longstanding provisional construction permits, the Board of Control for Cricket in India switched the T20 between India and Sri Lanka on Feb. 12 to the eastern city of Ranchi, BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur said on Friday. (Daily Mail)

Megapolis: The City of Dreams
The much talked about Western Megapolis is being launched today by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The Minister in charge of the subject, Patali Champika Ranawaka speaks of the fifteen year plan designed to transform the Western Province to an economically sustainable state of the art spatial structure, with eleven different zones. (Daily News)

10 reasons why you should visit Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a tropical and incredibly diverse island off the southern tip of India that can offer holiday makers everything from pristine sandy beaches to ancient Buddhist temples and lush green hills dotted with tea plantations to wildlife safaris.

Its tourism industry suffered major setbacks from its 20 year civil war, which ended in 2009, as well as devastaion from the 2004 tsunami. But it's getting back on its feet and a slew of luxe new hotel openings are putting it back on the map. (Evening Standard)

Attempt to subjugate the two forces that protect Sri Lanka: Armed Forces & Maha Sangha
The two forces that come forward to protect the nation not surprisingly originate from the Deep South and represent the rural masses.

Majority of the Sangha and the members of the armed forces are Sinhala literate, from poor homes and possess all the ingredients that the Kolambians, who did not play any role in defending the nation, loathe. Historically, it was the Sangha that advised the Kings and held respect amongst the people. (Lankaweb)

Lady justice bent for ‘Sari’ but not for ‘Sivura’ - Wimal
National Freedom Front (NFF) leader MP Wimal Weerawansa today charged that lady justice did not “bend” to the ‘Sivura’ (saffron robe) the same way she did to the ‘Sari’.

For the Sari, bail was given within 15-20 minutes on a Saturday and lady justice did the needful, he claimed in possible reference to the arrest of MP Hirunika Premachandra. (Ada Derana)

Sri Lanka’s trade deficit plunges in November
Sri Lanka’s trade deficit in November 2015 has contracted significantly by 13.2 per cent to US dollars 630 million in comparison to US dollars 726 million in November 2014.

However, the trade deficit for the first eleven months of 2015 marginally increased by 1.0 per cent to US dollars 7,566 million. (The Nation)

Domestic war crimes probe to meet international standards: Sri Lanka
The Sri Lankan government on Thursday reiterated that a domestic probe into alleged war crimes committed in the island nation will meet international standards.

Government spokesperson Rajitha Senaratne told reporters in a media briefing here that the local mechanism would be set up later this month and foreign assistance would be sought only if required. (XinhuaNet)

Sri Lankan shares snap three-session losing streak
Sri Lankan shares snapped a three-session losing streak and closed marginally higher on Thursday as investors picked up some beaten-down large-cap stocks.

The main stock index ended 0.05 percent, or 3.43 points, higher at 6,319.89, after posting its lowest close since Jan. 20 on Wednesday. (REUTERS)

JHU has passed away - Gammanpila
The General Secretary of Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU), Udaya Gammanpila, says that his former party, Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), is the past of the national movement and that it passed away on the day it left the government to support the Common Candidate.

“To put it simply the Jathika Hela Urumaya passed away on November 30, 2014.” (Ada Derana)

It is sheer madness to write a New Constitution to Sri Lanka now
The President Sirisena and Prime Minster Ranil Wickramasinghe are overwhelmingly happy they have brought democracy back to Sri Lanka and opened the country to the friendly Nations of the West.

The USA and the West reciprocate with gratitude the part played by the duo along with their sleeping pawn Chandrika who awakens at the click of fingers by her USA and western masters to carry out their agenda of regime change to make Sri Lanka one of their puppet States of the developing countries (Lankaweb)

Embilipitiya Magistrate gives shocking order
The ASP of the Embilipitiya Police Station attacked my husband before he was pushed down the stairs. At that stage I begged the ASP not to assault my husband as I was pregnant. But those pleas fell on deaf ears. When I went to my husband he told me that nothing had happened to him and asked me not to be scared

Embilipitiya Additional Magistrate Prasanna Fernando yesterday ordered the CID to arrest former Embilipitiya ASP and HQI in connection with the clash which resulted in the death of Sumith Prasanna Jayawardene on 4 January in Embilipitiya. (CEYLON TODAY)

Bogus robe wearers likely sent from Sirikotha, says Pahiyangala Ananda Sagara Thera
The unruly protesters who converged near the Homagama Magistrate's Court on January 26 could have been robe wearers who were sent by the Sirikotha, Pahiyangala Ananda Sagara Thera stated yesterday.

Speaking to the media at the Bodu Bala Sena head office, Ananda Sagara Thera said that the Prime Minister knew that bogus 'robe wearers' had created disturbances near the Homagama courts when even the Buddhist monks such as himself were not sure as to what was actually going on. (Asian Mirror)

Presidential outburst stirs post-Cabinet meeting with UNP Ministers
During a post-Cabinet meeting with UNP Ministers including Premier Ranil Wickremasinghe, President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday vented his frustration over what he described as “nothing happening”.

Sources said that President was visibly very angry and emphatic when he had said a common claim was that “nothing is happening,” and people and the private sector were losing patience. (Daily FT)

PM to make statement on overseas accounts
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will make a statement in Parliament with regard to the revelations made by Cabinet Spokesman Dr. Rajitha Senaratne on bank accounts in Dubai belonging to a former VVIP family, an MP and a head of a government institution, which exceeded USD 3 billion.

Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella said the Prime Minister would make a statement on the issue, when a question was raised by Chief Opposition Whip Anura Dissanayake on the matter in Parliament yesterday. (Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka, main destination for used cars from Japan
Sri Lanka has set a record as the number one destination for used car exports from Japan in terms of value last year, JB Securities said in a research note.

“The main reason for the heightened demand for this category of vehicles was aggressive credit extension from commercial banks,” JB Securities said. (Lanka Business Online)

Joint Opp. slams Govt's stance on kidney transplantation
The Joint Opposition yesterday said the Government was suppressing the professionals and that was why it has stopped kidney transplantation and also opted for the proposed Economic and Technology Cooperative Agreement (ETCA) with India.

UPFA MP Ramesh Pathirana said the government should have initiated a probe to look into the media reports instead of stopping the doctors from performing kidney transplantations. (Daily Mirror)

Minister vs Minister
Court of Appeal yesterday (25) issued an interim order against Minister of Megapolis Champika Ranawaka, preventing him from acquiring a plot of land owned by Minister Daya Gamage.

President of Court of Appeal Vijith Malalgoda and Justice Devika de Livera took this decision after considering an appeal by Gamage and three others. Minister Ranawake and three others have been accused. (CEYLON TODAY)

No preparation to contest under a new party- Dissanayake
No requests have been made to the Central Working Committee of the SLFP to contest under a new party at the forthcoming local government election, General Secretary of the SLFP Minister Duminda Dissanayake says.

Dissanayake made the observation after participating the SLFP Central Working Committee meeting held in Colombo this afternoon (26). (Ada Derana)

President reiterates his commitment to seek justice, restore credibility of security forces
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena today said that he is fully committed to seek justice for the alleged war time abuses and clear the name of the security forces regardless of the abuses, insults and allegations directed to him by narrow-minded political extremists.

Addressing the launching ceremony of the 'Virusara' Privilege Card, offered to the families of the disabled war heroes of the tri-forces by the State Ministry of Defense, at Temple Trees. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka from the sky: spectacular drone footage of the island

Sri Lanka's tea plantations, palm-fringed coasts and extraordinary temples shrouded in thick forest are shown in a beautiful aerial video.

Even those unable to visit the island south of India in the Indian Ocean can explore the mist-shrouded mountain sides and waterfalls in the footage, which is one of 18 destinations around the world shot by London-based MOFILM. ( The Telegraph)

Sri Lankan shares fall ahead of policy rate decision
Sri Lankan shares fell on Monday to snap a two-session winning streak ahead of the central bank's monetary policy decision later in the day and as investors worried over volatile global markets and rising returns on risk-free assets.

Six out of 11 analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to keep key policy rates steady, while the rest predicted a hike. (Business Recoder)

Tamils seek power devolution in Sri Lanka's new Constitution
Sri Lanka's main Tamil party today demanded devolution of powers in the new Constitution to resolve ethnic issues.

"The only solution to the national problem could be the devolution of power. We hope the new Constitution will address this issue," Tamil National Alliance (TNA) front line parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran told reporters here today. (Economic Times)

Sri Lanka is first country in the world to apologize for its role in illegal ivory trade
Sri Lanka became the fifteenth country today to crush and burn its ivory stockpile and the first to formally apologize for its role in the illegal ivory trade.

“We have to apologize,” the Venerable Omalpe Sobitha Thero, the Buddhist priest who led the service, told National Geographic. (ecowatch)

Global Tamil Forum alarmed at Sri Lankan President's comments on accountability mechanism
The London-based Tamil Diaspora organization, the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) has expressed deep concern over the comments made by the Sri Lankan President regarding International Involvement on Accountability Mechanism.

The GTF said it is deeply concerned and disappointed by the recent comments of Sri Lankan President made during an interview with BBC on January 21, 2016 concerning his opposition to international involvement in ensuring justice for war crimes and human rights abuses committed by both parties to the conflict in Sri Lanka. (Colombo Page)

Gnanasara Thera remanded till Feb.9
BBS General Secretary the Ven. Galagodaatte Gnansara Thera, arrested this morning on charges of contempt of court, was remanded till February 9 by the Homagama Magistrate.

Meanwhile, a tense situation prevailed outside the court premises following the court order. A group of monks and laymen were reported to have carried out a protest against the arresting of the monk and remanding. (Daily Mirror)

Zeid urged to push Sri Lanka to stick to UN commitment
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid, has been urged to ensure that Sri Lanka will stick to its promise and fully implements all aspects of the UN Resolution on Sri Lanka without any exceptions

The Global Tamil Forum (GTF), a leading Tamil diaspora group, said it was deeply concerned and disappointed by the recent comments of President Maithripala Sirisena (BBC, January 21, 2016) concerning his opposition to international involvement in ensuring justice for war crimes and human rights abuses committed by both parties to the conflict in Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette)

Sri Lanka Marxist party to take all efforts to oppose the proposed ETCA with India
Sri Lanka's Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) says the party will "make all efforts to oppose" the proposed Indo-Sri Lanka Economic and Technology Cooperative Agreement (ETCA) in Parliament.

The JVP stressed that the government should not sign this agreement as it has not been given a mandate to sign such an agreement at the expense of the country's economy. (Colombo Page)

HRW reacts to President’s statement on foreign Judges
Human Rights Watch has urged the Sri Lankan government to fulfill its commitments to the UN Human Rights Council by allowing foreign judges and prosecutors that are crucial to prosecuting wartime abuses.

Issuing a statement today, the organization said foreign judges and prosecutors play a significant role in the mandated accountability mechanism for wartime abuses though the President’s recent statement is contrary to that. (Lanka Business Online)

Adhishtaana Pooja heats up over Sinhaley Flag
A tense situation between the police and The Sinhale National Movement arose yesterday during the pledging ceremony under the theme “Deyata Pana Demi Sinhale” at the Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy.

The procession which commenced at the independence square Colombo displayed Buddhist flags along with the national flag omitting the representation of the minorities which had antagonized them in the past. (Hiru News)

Does President Sirisena realize he is going to be jobless if the new constitution is implemented?
When Gen. Fonseka failed in 2010, another candidate had to be selected for the 2015 Presidential election. That quest was outsourced to CBK who cherry-picked the most least-expected choice as President.

To get rid of the Presidency, Maithripala Sirisena shook Sri Lanka with a well-funded Dharmic projection of the perfect leader for the nation and won. Lankaweb)

Dollar will hit 160- Bandula
In an interview with the Daily Mirror the Joint Opposition’s Economic Affairs Spokesman, MP Bandula Gunawardane said that people would be compelled to endure economic hardships in the form of rising price and the lack of employment opportunities in the new year. He said it would not bode well for the country, because of budgetary provisions. (Daily Mirror)

GMOA accuses govt. of falling into Indian trap
The government has lent credence to a non-existing human organ racket here and deprived the country of foreign exchange by imposing an ill-conceived, blanket ban on kidney transplant operations on foreigners in Sri Lanka, the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) says.

GMOA Secretary Dr. Nalinda Herath said the end result of the government ban served the purposes of Indian doctors and medical industry to block a large number of Indians coming here for kidney transplant operations. (The Island)

Italian national arrested in Sri Lanka for sexual abuse of a teen
Sri Lanka police have arrested an Italian national for sexually abusing a teenage boy, the state-run TV network reported.

Negombo Police Crimes Division launched an operation to nab the 55-year-old Italian who was alleged of sexually abusing a 17-year-old student at a guest house in Negombo. (Colombo Page)

Destroying blood ivory message loud and clear
Destroying the largest consignment of blood ivory confiscated by the Customs would send the right message to illegal fauna and flora racketeers loud and clear:

"Sri Lanka does not tolerate smuggling rackets". Wildlife activists and protection authorities alike hope that this would deter any future smugglers from using the country as a transit point. (Daily News)

Political parties asked to submit audit reports to Election Commission
Recognized political parties in Sri Lanka have been asked to submit the audit reports of their parties to the Election Commission before the end of the month, the Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said.

The parties have been informed that the reports for the year 2015 need to be handed over to the Election Commission by the 29th of this month. All details of the party's activities should be included in the report. (Colombo Page)

Listing of Sri Lanka non-strategic investments may take a year, says Eran
Sri Lanka’s government is putting in place processes to list some of its non-strategic investments on the Colombo Stock Exchange, although this may not take place immediately, Eran Wickramaratne, deputy minister of Public Enterprise Development, told Lanka Business Online.

“Within a year that’s possible. But whatever we are doing, we want to do it properly and transparently and we are putting the processes in place,” he said. (Lanka Business Online)

Rail track extension: Hambantota loses; Polonnaruwa gains
The government has cancelled the construction of the Beliatta- Kataragama stretch of the Matara-Kataragama railway line via Hambantota and in favour of a new rail track between the Kurunegala and Habarana under the ‘Polonnaru Udanaya’ project.

Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva said that Kurunegala–Habarana rail track would be constructed as a priority project via Dambulla and Galewela while Chief Technical Officer of the Matara–Kataragama railway project Y. K. Samarajeewa said Beliatta–Kataragama stretch had been stopped for now. (The Island)

Deputy FM dispels allegations of agreement with India endangering Sri Lanka IT sector
Deputy Foreign Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva has dismissed allegations that the new trade agreement to be entered into with India open up Sri Lanka's IT sector to Indians and endanger the jobs of Sri Lankan IT professionals.

The Deputy Minister responding to the allegations in a television program on the Hiru TV assured that the government's new soon-to-be-entered into agreement with India does not pose a threat to the Sri Lankan IT job market. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka tops South Asia in human development
Sri Lanka has maintained its high ranking in human development. But the country’s performance in terms of average annual human development index (HDI) growth rate during 1990-2014 was lower than many other South Asian countries.

These findings are among the highlights of the Global Human Development Report (HDR) 2015 released by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) here on Thursday. (The Hindu)

Sri Lanka refugees from Tamil Nadu not welcome in Australia
The Australian government on Friday made it clear that Sri Lankan refugees from Tamil Nadu are no longer welcome in its country as they are not from refugee camps approved by United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC).

Nearly 1,200 Lankan refugees tried to travel in boats from Indian subcontinent to Australia between the years 2009 and 2013 died before reaching their destination. Sean Kelly, Australian consul-general to South India pointed out that Australia is not in position to take such refugees reaching their country without UNHRC approval. (The Deccan Chronicle)

Somawansa to join joint opposition?
Former JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe is to join hands with the joint opposition led by MP Dinesh Gunawardane to engage in future politics, it is learnt.

Recently, Mr. Amarasinghe who formed the People’s Servants Party met with the representatives of Mr. Gunawardane’s Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP).(Daily Mirror)

Revolution or evolution?
From the word go astute political analyst Izeth Hussain characterized the political change that occurred in our country on the 8th of January 2015 as "a revolution". To mark the first anniversary of the January 8th change, the Presidential Secretariat has produced an ostensibly scholarly publication titled One Nation Great Power.

Some 25 political heavyweights have pondered over the nature of the momentous change. Besides several key professional politicians, the assessors of the nature of the change include political activists like Sarath Wijesuriya, Jayadeva Uyangoda, Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri, Jayampathy Wickramaratna, Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, Imitiaz Bakeer Marker, Gamini Viyangoda, Mahim Mendis, Rohan Edirisinghe, Ravi Jayawardena and Nimalka Fernando. (The Island/Features)

Sri Lanka inflation NCPI at 4.2-pct in December 2015
Sri Lanka’s consumer prices rose 4.2 percent in the 12-months to December 2015 from a year earlier, data from the state statistics office showed.

In November 2015, the index which is termed as National Consumer Price Index reported 4.8 percent inflation. (Lanka Business online)

Sri Lanka president wants 'internal' war crimes court
The president of Sri Lanka has said foreign judges and prosecutors should not be involved in an investigation into allegations of war crimes.

In a BBC interview, President Maithripala Sirisena said the country did not need to "import" specialists. (BBC)

CIABOC takes Welgama to Court
The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) yesterday filed plaint in the Magistrate's Court... ...of Colombo against former Transport Minister and Kalutara District UPFA MP Kumara Welgama alleging he illegally authorized payment of Rs 3.2 million to the former Vice Chairman of the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) L.A. Wimalaratne. The case number is 45911.

The plaint states that the former minister had created the position of Vice Chairman at the SLTB when there was no need for the creation of such a post, before allegedly paying Wimalaratne the sum of Rs 3.242 million by way of monthly salary, telephone and transport benefits, Director General of CIABOC Dilrukshi Dias Wickremasinghe said. (CEYLON TODAY)

Indian warships visit Colombo, Sri Lanka
Indian Naval ships Vikramaditya and Mysore are on an official visit to Colombo from 21 -23 Jan 16. The ships are part of the Indian Navys Western Fleet based at Mumbai.

During the visit, the warships will have professional interactions with the Sri Lankan Navy for further enhancing already close co-operation between the two Navies. In addition, a number of sports and social engagements are planned, which are aimed at strengthening ties and mutual understanding between the two Navies. On departure from Colombo, the ships will participate in a Passage Exercise with the Sri Lankan Navy. (Business Standard)

Sri Lanka bans foreigner kidney transplants after organ racket tip
Sri Lanka banned kidney transplants for foreign nationals on Thursday following reports of an organised organ harvesting racket involving patients and donors from neighbouring India.

Health minister Rajitha Senaratne said he ordered the immediate halt after Indian police warned Sri Lankan authorities that some patients from India had paid donors for organs and had the transplants carried out at private hospitals in Colombo. (Daily Mail)

Rajapaksa should lead SLFP at LG Polls: Welgama
UPFA MP and former Minister Kumara Welgama said former President Mahinda Rajapaksa should lead the Sri Lanka Freedom Party campaign at the forthcoming Local Government elections.

Speaking to BBC he said that he was prepared to accept President Maithripala Sirisena since he is an elected leader. However, the people are with Rajapaksa, Welgama also insisted. (Asian Mirror)

LG polls: Joint Opp pledges support for Mahinda loyalists
UPFA Gampaha District MP Prasanna Ranatunga yesterday declared that the SLFP- Joint Opposition would campaign at the forthcoming local government polls for those local government members who had been with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa since the last president polls.

MP Ranatunga emphasised that they would throw their weight behind them even if they contested under a different symbol. The SLFPer said that it was their responsibility to ensure the election of those who had stood by the former President even at the risk to their careers. Other political parties in the Joint Opposition, too, would campaign for their victory, he added. (The Island)

Emergency SLFP Central Committee meeting to avert split
The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) will convene an urgent Central Committee meeting this week to discuss measures to prevent a possible split in the party, party sources said.

At the same time, the SLFP will organize district level meetings across the country from today where its Local Government representatives will pledge their unconditional support to the party. The first meetings will be held in Kandy and Gampaha. (Daily News)

Sri Lankans not welcome at Mirissa Bay Hotels
Several restaurants located in the Mirissa Bay have refused to serve food, beverages and provide accommodation to Sri Lankans because of their anti-social behavior, several customers complained

Based on complaints of discrimination by Sri Lankans who had visited these hotels, Daily Mirror contacted some of the hotel owners in Mirissa and they too confirmed that they were reluctant to serve Sri Lankans because of their unruly behaviour. (Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka’s ‘New Constitution’ to satisfy external parties while suppressing views of the majority
We need to put into context some key factors. When John Kerry openly admits to being proud of regime change in Sri Lanka, it is a clear indication that the January/August 2015 elections had all the hallmarks of foreign intervention.

When UN Secretary General showers praises on the new government inspite of law & order visibly collapsing and the UNHRC is happy to wind up resolutions against Sri Lanka, it shows the US-India drafted resolutions were nothing but a farce. When every decision taken by the good governance government is laboriously trying to please those that funded their journey to power, it spells doom for all the ordinary people of Sri Lanka – Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims in toto. (Lankaweb)

ශ්‍රී ලංකා හමුදාව පාවාදුන් "ජුදාස්‌" ට විදේශ රටක ඉහළ ධුරයක්‌
ලොව වෙනත් රටවල් නම් එවැනි හමුදා නිලධාරීන්ට රාජද්‍රෝහීත්වය මත නඩු පැවරේ. එහෙත් මෙරට එවැන්නක්‌ සිදු වී නැත. මෙම හිටපු හමුදා මේජර් ජෙනරාල්වරයා ඇමරිකානු රාජ්‍ය දෙපාර්තමේන්තුව හමුවේ සාක්‌කි දී දේශපාලන රැකවරණ පතා තිබුණි. ඔහුගේ දිවුරුම් ප්‍රකාශය නිසා ශ්‍රී ලංකාවට එරෙහිව ජිනීවා මානව හිමිකම් කවුන්සිලය වෙත යෝජනාවක්‌ ගෙන ඒමට ඇමරිකාවට හැකි විය.

ශ්‍රී ලංකා හමුදාව යුද අපරාධ සිදුකළ බවට ඇමරිකානු රාජ්‍ය දෙපාර්තමේන්තුව හමුවේ දිවුරුම් ප්‍රකාශයක්‌ දුන්නේ මෙරට මේජර් ජෙනරාල්වරයෙකි. යුද අපරාධ සියෑසින් දුටු බව ඔහු පවසා නැතත් ඇමරිකානු රාජ්‍ය දෙපාර්තමේන්තුව හමුවේ පැවසූවේ සිවිල් වැසියන්ව හමුදාව මරා දැමූ බවයි. විනය හේතූන් මත මොහුගේ සේවය නතර වූවත් පසුගිය වසරේදී ඔහු දේශපාලන පළිගැනීමකට ලක්‌ වී ඇති බව කියමින් යළිත් සිය ධුරය ලබා ගත්තේය.. ( දිචයින )

Hangers-on, the first to leave leaders who lose power – Prelate
Venerable Keppetiyagoda Siriwimala Nayaka Thera, Chief Incumbent, Rajopawanaramya, Getambe yesterday said those who pretended to be close to political leaders were the first to decamp when the latter lost political power.

The Nayaka Thera made the observation when he met former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who called on the prelate recently. (The Island)

Get lost at this ultra lush sustainable hotel in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has suddenly become a bonafide hotbed of luxury hotel openings—and the gorgeous Tri Lanka resort may be the most stunning example yet.

Billed as "Sri Lanka's first truly contemporary, sustainable luxury design hotel," Tri Lanka features ten eco-conscious suites nestled on a dazzlingly lush green island overlooking Koggala, Sri Lanka's largest natural lake. (MAXIM)

Man tried in Germany for backing Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers
A Sri Lankan-born man went on trial in Germany Monday charged with membership of the rebel group the Tamil Tigers which Germany considers a terrorist organization.

The 53-year-old German national, identified only as Yogendran G. by the court, is accused of having raised funds from 2007-2009 for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in and around the northern city of Hamburg. (Daily Star)

Embilipitiya clash: final report delayed
The final investigation report into the death of the youth in Embilipitiya, which was to be released today was not released as scheduled as the investigations were not yet concluded, a senior Police officer told Daily Mirror.

He said that interim report into the incident was handed over to the IGP N.K. Illangakoon last Saturday and the final report would be submitted after January 27. (Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka suspend bowling coach over alleged fixing bid
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) announced on Monday that they have decided to suspend its fast bowling coach over alleged attempts at bribing players to under-perform in a Test match to ensure a surprise victory for the West Indies.

Anusha Samaranayake was suspended for two months after Sri Lanka’s sports minister ordered a probe into allegations of an attempt to engineer a batting collapse in the match in Galle last October, the cricket board said in a statement. (Hindustan Times)

Sirisena and Ranil are destructors, Mahinda and Gotabhaya were constructors
Mithripala Sirisena has a subordinate mentality. He cannot rise above that mental handicap. He cannot even stand up against Ranil to say no to him.

Ranil is evil, he knows how to disarm his superiors, and take their place. That he did with President Chandrika Kumaratunga, when Ranil became her Prime Minister. Ranil completely ignored the President and took her place by signing the CFA with the terrorist leader Prabhakaran, and went to USA to have lunch with George Bush. (Lankaweb)

David Cameron takes some credit for reforms in Sri Lanka
Britain says its Prime Minister David Cameron could take some credit for the re-establishment of good governance and the rule of law in Sri Lanka.

The visiting British Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hugo Swire said in Colombo on Saturday, that Cameron, who had invested emotionally and intellectually in Sri Lanka, could take some of the credit for the positive changes since Jan. 8, 2015 which had resulted in the re-establishment of human rights , good governance and the rule law. (The Island)

Rajapaksa wants election for new govt under new constitution
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa says that if the intention of the government is to simply deflect public attention from the myriad problems facing the country by making loud noises about constitutional change and abolishing the executive presidential system, such an attempt will not succeed.

“People are now tired of the lies and deception of this government,” he said, delivering a speech at the Abeyarama Temple in Narahenpita today (17). (The Island)

Chinese navy ships start Sri Lanka tour
The 21st Chinese naval escort taskforce, comprising the guided-missile frigates Liuzhou, Sanya and the comprehensive supply ship Qinghaihu, arrived here on Sunday for a five-day visit.

The Sri Lankan Navy held a welcoming ceremony for the visiting Chinese naval taskforce, attended by Chinese Ambassador Yi Xianliang and over a hundred Chinese officials and merchants. (XinhiaNet)

SLFP members attempting to unite Sirisena and Rajapaksa
Members of Sri Lanka Freedom party (SLFP) are making attempts to unite President Maithripala Sirisena and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, local newspaper report says.

The attempt is being made by Ministers and Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) members S. B. Dissanayake and W. D. J. Seneviratne, according to a Sunday Leader report. (Colombo Page)

Theravada Bhikku Code to be amended
A draft bill which was recently presented to Parliament to register a Theravada Bhikku Code will be amended and handed over to the Maha Nayaka Theras shortly.

Maha Nayaka of the Kotte Saamagri Dhamma Maha Council Dr. Most Venerable Iththapane Dhammalankara Thera stated that although such an act was needed at present, an error had been made by presenting it to parliament without obtaining the views of the responsible Theras. (Colombo Page)

NFF to contest LG polls from a new front
The National Freedom Front (NFF) headed by MP Wimal Weerawansa will be contesting the upcoming local government elections from a newly formed political front.

Speaking at a media briefing, its leader Wimal Weerawansa said winning the LG polls would be their first step towards their goal of ‘toppling the government.’ (Daily Mirror)

A new constitution for Sri Lanka; a misplaced priority
Sri Lanka seems destined to engage in yet another mix up of priorities. Since independence in 1948, the country has been grappling with constitutions or major changes to administrative regulations and not economic priorities.

The result has been that a country that was more economically advanced at one time than subsequent Tiger economies like Singapore and Malaysia, has sled back to where it was decades ago. (Aian Tribune)

Sri Lanka an Indian Territory: Reason why Prabakaran killed Rajiv Gandhi
Certain quarters of the Tamil polity are worried. They need to worry. They should now be more worried for their own future in the event India does turn Sri Lanka into an Indian territory thus realizing a very long historically failed goal.

The manner the Sirisena-Ranil-CBK Government is allowing Indians to walk all over Sri Lanka will spell doom for the Tamils first in their new nation after devolving powers. (Lankaweb)

No influence in drafting new constitution
UK Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hugo Swire says that the UK government will not interfere in formulating the new constitution of Sri Lanka.

UK Minister Hugo Swire made the observation at a press conference held in Colombo today. (Hiru News)

Sri Lanka eyes Nuclear Power?
With the intention of making Sri Lanka achieve the status of a ‘high income developed nation’ by 2030, the government has envisaged tapping advanced technologies such as civil nuclear applications via the Science and Technology City Mega Project that is proposed to be built on the Malabe-Homagama Corridor, in a bid to see the possibility of tapping atomic power for civilian applications.

“We are highly keen on seeing the possibilities of venturing into nuclear and space technologies in partnership with foreign expertise,” a high-ranking town and spatial planner involved in the project, told The Sunday Leader. (Sunday Leader)

Sri Lanka Navy assists repatriation of 8 Indian Fishermen
The Sri Lanka Navy said it has assisted the repatriation of eight Indian fishermen released from Sri Lankan custody on 15th January 2016.

The released fishermen were handed over to the Indian Coast Guard Ship "Rani Abakka" at the International Maritime Boundary Line north of Kankasanthurai. (Colombo Page)

Buddhist world must help stop political-Christian agenda to displace Buddhism’s historical place in Sri Lanka through new constitution
Buddhism came to Sri Lanka by royal invitation. Buddhism was followed by Sinhala Buddhists and respected by Tamil Hindus. 180 rulers of the Sinhale nation ruled following the Dasa–Raja–Dhamma: The ‘Ten Royal Virtues’. No politician (local or foreign), the UN, NGOs on payroll or heads of Abrahamic religions have any right to usurp that place on the argument that all religions must be equal only in Sri Lanka.

This argument is strengthened by the fact that if Catholicism is the only religion to be given a sovereign country and a place in the UN while in majority Muslim countries the place of Islam is non-negotiable, why should Buddhism’s place that received State patronage for over 2500 years be removed just to pacify politically correct theories? (Lankaweb)

Sri Lanka to receive $ 20 million grant from World Food Programme
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has decided to award a $20 million grant to Sri Lanka, the Finance Ministry said.

WFP Deputy Country Director, Nguyen Duc Hoang during a recent meeting with Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake held at the Finance Ministry, has announced that the grant will be made for the years 2016 and 2017. (Colombo Page)

German woman molested at beach: Teenage monk among 3 arrested
Two suspects have been arrested by Gandara Police on suspicion of sexually molesting a German woman while a Buddhist monk has also been arrested on suspicion of recording the incident suing a mobile phone.

The police spokesman’s office said that two German women had visited the Thalalla beach last evening and that one of them was subject to sexual molestation by the suspects and that the monk had recorded the incident in his phone. (Ada Derana)

GMOA threatens to sue Rajitha
The Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) warned today it would take legal action against Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne and the Health Ministry Secretary Anura Jayawickrama next week for permitting the Malabe Private Medical University to carry out clinical training at government hospitals.

GMOA Secretary Dr. Navin de Soysa said they were currently consulting legal opinion on this matter. (Daily Mirror)

‘Yahapalana govt. decisions deeply riled Ven. Sobitha’
Prof. Sarath Wijesooriya has declared that Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera had been deeply disappointed at the time of his death by some of the decisions taken by the ruling UNP-SLFP coalition.

Addressing two public meetings, Prof. Wijesooriya, of the Sinhala Department of the University of Colombo this week, alleged that Ven. Sobitha had expressed disappointment at the appointment of defeated candidates through the National List.(The Island)

Sri Lanka Seeking Strong Player to Sell Bunkers at Hambantota
The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) says it is looking for a strong player to restart its bunkering activities at Hambantota, according to local media reports.

"What we are looking for is an investor who will develop that industry," SLPA Chairman Dhammika Ranatunga was quoted as saying. (Ship and Bunker)

UPFA former LG heads to form new political group
A group of Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) former Local Governments’ representatives yesterday revealed their aim to form a separate political party to contest upcoming Local Government polls, perhaps under former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Speaking at a media briefing the Federation of Local Government Institutions’ Representatives said it would contest the next local Government election under the blessing and ‘maybe the leadership’ of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. (Daily FT)

Sri Lanka police quiz Perera, Herath over match-fixing scandal
Sri Lankan players Kusal Perera and Rangana Herath have been questioned by the Financial Crime Investigation Division (FCID) over an alleged match-fixing scandal, a police source said.

Opening batsman Perera had alerted the officials about an approach made by bookies to him and left-arm spinner Herath to underperform during the Test against West Indies at Galle in October. (One india)

Liyanage wants IGP to probe rumour
A.S.P. Liyanage, Leader of the Labour Party and the former Ambassador to Nigeria has written to the Inspector General of Police... ...to conduct a thorough investigation into the controversies relating to this residence named 'Peacock Mansion.'Liyanage is also Chairman of the A.S.P. Real Estate Group.

It is learnt that he had invited the IGP's probe because of allegedly false claims to the effect that the pool in the mansion's premises had gold and cash buried under the sand it is filled with. In an earlier interview with Ceylon Today, he said the pool was filled with sand in response to instructions from the architectural firm 'Vastu' at a time when he was thinking of letting the mansion to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Liyanaghe said: "The Vastu architects came to inspect the place. They said that water on the west side of the house would bring bad luck. (CEYLON TODAY)

Killing Prabhakaran’s son, a war crime – SF
Former Army Commander Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, leader of the Democratic Party yesterday said that there was no evidence to prove LTTE leader Prabhakaran’s son had been killed by the army.

Asked to comment on former Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Gopalkrishna Gandhi’s claim that the army had committed a war crime by killing Prabhakaran’s son, Balachandran, Fonseka said if the Tiger leader’s son had been killed it amounted to a war crime, but added there was no evidence to prove the former High Commissioner’s statement. (The Island)

UK wants resolution on Sri Lanka implemented before June
The British Government says it hopes to see Sri Lanka implement the resolution which it co-sponsored at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) last October, ahead of the June 2016 UNHRC session.

UK Minister of State Hugo Swire, who begins a visit to Sri Lanka today, said that he has been encouraged and impressed by President Maithripala Sirisena’s Government, his commitment to tackle the legacy of Sri Lanka’s conflict – which has cast a shadow for too many years – and his keenness to restore democracy, underpinned by a stable, secure and integrated country. (Colombo Gazette)

SF challenges MS, RW to remove Wijeyadasa
Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka today challenged President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to remove Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe from the government, if they wanted to maintain ‘Good Governance’ in the country.

Addressing a news conference, he said the Minister continuing to defend the Avant Garde Maritime Security Company and its floating armoury, when it had been proved that the floating armoury was illegal. (Daily Mirror)

Angelo Mathews promises 'no mercy' to Sri Lanka cricketers guilty of misconduct
Sri Lanka cricket captain Angelo Mathews says he's "hurting" after the disastrous tour of New Zealand and promises "no mercy" for any players found guilty of party hi-jinks or misconduct.

Mathews fronted a press conference fresh off allegations of late night partying during the disastrous series against the Black Caps in which Sri Lanka achieved just one win in nine matches, an ODI. (Stuff)

Avant-Garde security firm to sue Sri Lanka Navy for Rs. 2.5 billion
Avant Garde private security firm has sent a letter of demand to Sri Lanka Navy demanding Rs. 2.5 billion.

President’s Counsel Kuvera de Zoysa representing the company made this revelation before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Large Scale Corruption and Abuse of Power (PRECIFAC). (Lankaweb)

Giritale Army Int. Camp sealed by Army Chief
After the Homagama Magistrate observed, on Monday, that the Army Commander could be arrested and charged if he did not cooperate with probe into the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda, the Military Intelligence Corps camp at Giritale (3 MIC) was sealed by Army Commander Crishantha de Silva last morning to provide conditions conducive the investigation, informed sources said.

They said that, on the instruction of the Army Commander, the Military Police had taken over the camp to help carry out the probe. (Daily Mirror)

YouTube launches local versions in Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka
YouTube has launched localised versions in Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, which will help Internet users with a more tailored YouTube experience to find high quality local content so they can be informed, entertained, educated and inspired by content of their own culture and language, while continuing to access the wide array of content on the world's largest online video platform.

Now, users visiting the YouTube homepage from those countries will be able to see videos and playlists that are popular in their countries in their local languages and domains. (Daily Times)

Sri Lanka stocks close with highest intra-day loss in 5 months
Sri Lankan stocks closed down at 1.74 percent for a seventh consecutive day with losses across the board as regional markets also dropped, brokers said.

The Colombo benchmark All Share Price Index shed 115.97 points to end at 6,534.35 down 1.74 percent. S&P SL20 closed 71.00 points down at 3,392.04 down 2.05 percent. (Lanka Business Online)

S.Lanka to probe alleged drinking, squabbling on NZ tour
Sri Lanka's demoralised cricket team faces an investigation into alleged "scandalous behaviour" during its dismal tour of New Zealand, including drinking parties and squabbling, the sports minister said Tuesday.

Dayasiri Jayasekera said he had been handed photos of national players attending all-night parties just before crucial matches against hosts New Zealand, who achieved a virtual clean sweep in the just-ended tour. (Daily Mail)

Bread up by one rupee
The price of a 450 g of loaf of bread will be increased by Re.1.00 with effect from midnight tomorrow, the All Ceylon Bakery Owners’ Association Chairman N.K.Jayawardana said. (Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka approves Chinese Port Project
Sri Lanka is to go ahead with a $1.4 billion Chinese-backed real estate project after some changes to its terms, a minister said on Tuesday, signalling readiness to accept more Chinese investment in the face of a balance-of-payment crisis.

President Maithripala Sirisena's new government suspended the project, which includes apartments, shopping malls, a water sports area, a golf course, hotels and marinas next to Colombo's main port, in March last year citing various irregularities including a lack of proper permits and approvals. (Maritime Executive)

Sri Lanka, Japan hold high level talks to enhance cooperation
Japan and Sri Lanka held high level discussions on Tuesday to enhance bilateral and economic cooperation, the Foreign Ministry said here.

The Sri Lanka, Japan Policy Dialogue was held between the foreign ministries of the two countries in Colombo after such a dialogue was proposed during Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's visit to Japan, last year. (Shanghai Daily)

Jaishankar arrives in Sri Lanka
Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar on Tuesday arrived in Sri Lanka to hold bilateral discussions with the island nation's leadership, media reported.

Jaishankar is expected to meet Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera among other dignitaries, a report in the Daily Mirror online said. (daijiworld)

GL: Govt. will have to amend PM’s resolution
Former External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris yesterday said the UNP-SLFP coalition would amend Prime Minister’s Ranil Wickremesinghe’s resolution for enacting a new Constitution.

Prof. Peiris said the Joint Opposition, the JVP as well as the SLFPers in the government wanted far reaching amendments to the motion. (The Island)

Sri Lanka lose World No.1 T20 Ranking after defeat
The Sri Lankan T20 Team has lost their No.1 ranking to West Indian side, as the Sri Lankans were beaten badly by the New Zealand team 2-0 in New Zealand, whereas Pakistan also went one place down as Kiwi climbed a place.

Sri Lanka had drawn the series 1-1 with the Caribbean side few months back and had big lead in ranking. But the seventh ranked New Zealand team was in impressive form and the thrashed the top ranked team by 9 runs to affect their ranking. (Cricket News World)

‘Aiyo Sirisena’- the President Sri Lanka had to have in order not to have a President
A year ago Sri Lanka elected a new president, Maithripala Sirisena to a chorus of ‘democracy’ and ‘just government’ cheering on from inside and outside the besieged island. Sirisena was the President Sri Lanka had to have in order not to have a President.

The main stage the new President was placed on had a heading of ‘democracy’ and subtext of ‘corruption’ implying that the claimed injustice and nepotism of a previous era was to be erased and a new era of just government / ‘Yahapalanaya’ heralded. (Lankaweb)

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit Sri Lanka next month
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein will visit Sri Lanka next month, the Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said in a statement today.

In a major boost to the unity government's reconciliation efforts, the UN has given its thumbs-up to Sri Lanka and in his next month's ground-breaking visit to Colombo, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Al Hussein will focus on, among others, the issues of Lankan IDPs who are still stranded, the outgoing UN official in Colombo has said. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka turns to mystery investor in bid to defend rupee
An unidentified investor has promised to park $1 billion in dollar deposits in Sri Lanka to help the island nation defend its currency, the finance minister told Reuters, in an unusual move that highlights the country's precarious finances.

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake declined to reveal the identity of the investor. But he said the investor was Belgian and was working with a Sri Lankan partner. (REUTERS)

Sri Lanka president hints a federal Constitution
President of Sri Lanka Maitripala Sirisena addressing the parliamentary on January 9 session that moved a resolution to transform the legislature into a constitutional assembly to draft a new constitution declared that there was no foreign influence in formulating the new constitution.

The president was allying a fear of foreign interference in the domestic affairs of the country at a time senior American officials have gone on record advocating serious devolution of administrative and economic power to the North-East Provinces through a federal constitution. (Asian Tribune)

Investor George Soros says the world could be heading towards a financial crisis similar to the 2008
Speaking at an economic forum in Sri Lanka Thursday, the 85-year-old drew similarities between the current economic environment and the financial crash of 2008.

“When I look at the financial markets there is a serious challenge which reminds me of the crisis we had in 2008,” he said. (News.au)

Why Sri Lanka Backed Off the Sino-Pakistani JF-17 Thunder
the JF-17 Thunder, a low-cost multi-role fighter built collaboratively by China and Pakistan, has run into some problems on the global fighter market.

Recently, every time it appears to have locked down a buyer, problem crop up. Malaysia became the latest supposed buyer of the JF-17 to come out publicly and say that there was no finalized deal. (The Diplomat)

Sri Lanka’s historic opportunity
It is a moment of great hope and some fear in Sri Lanka. As it takes the first step towards drafting a new Constitution, there is renewed hope that the island nation will be able to reinvent itself as a modern state, one that brings economic prosperity and national unity.

At the same time, it is also difficult to ignore the fear that yet another opportunity presented by history may fail owing to political opposition, ethnic extremism and an entrenched, if not systemic, resistance to change (The Hindu)

Hirunika sets world record: Gammanpila
UNP MP Hirunika Premachandra has created a world record by being the world’s first person to be bailed out within the shortest time ever after being arrested, UPFA MP Udaya Gammanpila said today.

He said that if it was an ordinary citizen who was arrested on Friday, he or she would have to wait till Monday to be bailed out but the MP who was arrested on Saturday had been released within a few hours on the same day. (Daily Mirror)

Dematagoda abduction incident: Hirunika arrested
MP Hirunika Premachandra has been arrested by the Colombo Crime Division (CCD) in connection with the abduction incident in Dematagoda, the Police Spokesperson confirmed a short while ago.

The MP will be produced before the Colombo Magistrate, this afternoon, Spokesperson ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said. (Ada Derana)

Gandhi endorses allegations of war crimes against SL
One-time Indian High Commissioner to Colombo Gopalkrishna Gandhi yesterday accused the previous government of having executed LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran’s son during the final phase of the Vanni offensive in May 2009.

Gandhi was delivering the keynote address at a ceremony to mark the completion of President Maithripala Sirisena’s first year in office, at the BMICH. (The Island)

It's nothing but political revenge: Gota
Former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said on yesterday that he was summoned by the FCID, PRECIFAC, Bribery and Corruption Commissions last year not to investigate fraud and corruption but to take political revenge.

Mr Rajapaksa visited the PRECIFAC yesterday as well and recorded a statement for several hours. (Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka leader pardons man accused of planning to kill him
On the first anniversary of his election, Sri Lanka's president on Friday pardoned a former Tamil Tiger insurgent accused of conspiring to kill him 10 years ago.

Since taking office, President Maithripala Sirisena has taken steps to advance post-civil war reconciliation, including providing relief to Tamil rebel suspects and pledging to investigate allegations that government troops and Tamil rebels committed war crimes. (ABC News)

Gota likely to Be the 'Face' of joint opposition: MR to take back seat
A section of the 'joint opposition', formed by UPFA dissidents, is now holding discussions with former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in a bid to bring him to the forefront of the fledgling political movement, informed sources told Asian Mirror.

With the former Defence Secretary coming into the picture, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is expected to take a back seat. (Asian Mirror)

Finding winners and losers in 2016
Tagged national compass, zigzags erratically in the hand of President Sirisena. Hold it southward, swivels northbound. President carries no magnetic power in his grasp but gasps to be the elected Prime Minister. Naturally, the mind goes back to a time before and his compass, computer-like adjusts accordingly. Thinking too far for a man too small.

Looking back, the Northern votes made the difference at the last presidential election. Northern Province, on a stand-alone basis can out-beat the rest, provided another province peaks, giving it a helping hand. (Daily Mirror)

UNP, UPFA members ridicule police for seeking AG’s advice
UNP MP Srinath Perera, PC, and UPFA MP Ranjit Zoysa of the Joint Opposition expressed serious concern over the failure on the part of the police to arrest Colombo District UNP MP Hirunika Premachandra over her alleged role in a recent case of abduction in the Dematagoda police area.

Appearing in a live debate on Derana anchored by Chathura Alwis, Ratnapura District MP Zoysa claimed that the much touted National Police Commission (NPC) seemed to be turning a blind eye to what was going on.(The Island)

Reigning ICC World Twenty20 champion Sri Lanka needs to win one match against New Zealand to retain its number-one ranking
CC World Twenty20 champion Sri Lanka goes head to head with host New Zealand in a two-match Twenty20 International series on Thursday, 7 January, in Mount Maunganui fully aware that it needs to either draw or win the series to retain its number-one position on the ICC T20I Team Rankings.

Sri Lanka (125) leads eighth-ranked New Zealand (108) by 17 points, which means it is expected to win the series comfortably. This, in turn, means if the series ends in a draw, the difference will reduce to 14 points, but more importantly, Sri Lanka will retain its number-one position.(ICC)

Pakistan inks JF-17 sell-deal with Sri Lanka despite Indian pressure
Pakistan and Sri Lanka have signed an agreement under which the former would sale eight JF-17 Thunder aircraft to the latter in the initial stage despite Indian pressure.

The agreement is part of several memorandum of understanding (MoUs)inked between Pakistan and Sri Lanka during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s three-day visit to the island earlier today. (The News)

Largest blue star sapphire found in Sri Lanka
The world’s largest blue star sapphire, weighing 1404.49 carets and valued at an astonishing $100 million, has been found in a mine in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan gemmologists say the sapphire was found in the city of Ratnapura, in southern Sri Lanka, which is known as the ’City of Gems.’ (The Hindu)

Thajudeen's killing: UCSC recommends video footage be sent to FBI
Although the CCTV footage showed a vehicle in the vicinity of rugby player Wasim Thajudeen's killing, its license number could not be matched with the licence No: WP KU6543 supplied by the CID, the Colombo University's School Of Computing (UCSC) said today.

It informed Colombo Additional Magistrate Nishantha Peiris that the poor quality of the video footage and the UCSC's limited technical facilities were the reasons for being unable to do so and recommended that the video footage be examined at a well equipped forensic laboratory abroad such as the FBI, MPS or the new Scotland Yard. (Daily Mirror)

Country will remain unitary; NE won’t be re-merged – govt.
The government has given an assurance that the unitary status of the country wouldn’t be changed under any circumstances.

Deputy Power and Renewable Energy Minister Ajith Perera made the pledge during a live debate on Sirasa Saturday night.(The Island)

Dinesh: Unitary State, place of Buddhism omitted in new proposals
The government had omitted certain significant Articles of the 1978 Constitution, including those on upholding the Unitary State of the country and giving foremost place to Buddhism from the new Constitution, Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) MP Dinesh Gunawardane charged today.

Speaking at a media briefing MP Gunawardane said the people were not informed about the omission of two Articles, which mainly affect the country.(Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka eyes closer ties with China in 2016
Sri Lanka is seeking to further cement its relations with China in the year ahead, a senior government minister told Xinhua here recently.

A high-level delegation led by Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is expected to visit China this year amid efforts to strengthen ties, said the minister, who asked not to be named.(XinhuaNet)

President pledges land for 100,000 war victims
Up to 100,000 people still living in camps six years after the end of Sri Lanka's brutal ethnic war will be given land to build homes within six months, President Maithripala Sirisena told AFP Sunday.

The leader, elected last January, has won praise for starting to hand back land after the end of one of South Asia's longest and bloodiest ethnic wars, which pitted the government against Tamil separatists. But he is also under international pressure to do more to reconcile the ethnically divided nation.(Yahoo News)

Unemployment on the rise
The latest data from the Department of Census and Statistics indicate that Sri Lanka’s declining unemployment trend has reversed and unemployment is rising. The rate of unemployment went up to five percent in the third quarter of last year from 4.2 percent in 2014.

This puts the official number of unemployed persons at 453,956 by the third quarter of last year..(The Island)

Sri Lanka’s Sirilak garden reveals a history laced in spice
Spices. The word conjures up thoughts of mystery and magic, of exotic locations and great adventure. Spices have been important for centuries as medicinal potions, in perfumes, in cooking, and even as poisons.

The history of the spice trade is long and evocative, shrouded in drama and danger. It is a tale of great daring and exploration to unknown, distant places — and of great reward.(The Australian)

Sri Lanka Air Force unlikely to buy Pakistan fighter jets
The Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) is unlikely to buy the Pakistan-made and Chinese-designed JF-17 multi-role fighter even if Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pushes for it during his visit to Colombo between January 4 and 6, according to a report in New Indian

Reacting to a report by Anthony Davies in IHS Jane's 360, dated December 29, saying that Sharif will press for its purchase, a Lankan expert, who did not want to be identified, told Express that India�s opposition to such a deal and cost of the fighter will prevent the Sri Lankan government from buying the Pakistani jet fighter although Sri Lanka wants to replace its ageing fighter aircraft fleet.(Colombo Page)

WPC JHU members to act independently
The three Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) Western Provincial councillors would act independently in future, JHU National Organiser and Councillor Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe said today.Daily Mirror)

Community rallies behind Sri Lanka family set to be deported
As a deportation date nears for a San Antonio family with roots in Sri Lanka, friends in their local community came together to try to get the attention of their local congressman.

their local community came together to try to get the attention of their local congressman. (KENS 5)

Rate hike could hurt Sri Lanka's growth: central bank chief
Raising Sri Lankan official interest rates would hurt economic growth because they are already high compared to inflation, central bank governor Arjuna Mahendran on Thursday.

However, he said monetary tightening could not be ruled out given faster growth in private sector lending, noting that borrowing used to buy imported vehicles was hurting the rupee exchange rate.(REUTERS)

AG seeks visuals of Hirunika’s news briefing
The Colombo Magistrate’s Court today ordered the television stations which covered UNP MP Hirunika Premachandra’s news briefing -- on the abduction of a man at Dematagoda -- to hand over their video footage to the Police..(Daily Mirror)

Sanga-Mahela: Live Events Sri Lanka is blacklisted for tax fraud
Popular Latin American singer Enrique Iglesias’s concert held in Colombo recently was highly criticized by many Sri Lankans. President Maithreepala Sirisena made International headlines after expressing his view on the concert.

The concert was organized by Live Events Sri Lanka which is owned by former Sri Lankan Cricketers Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena. (Hiru News)

Sri Lanka targets 2.2mn tourists in 2016
Sri Lanka is planning to attract 2.2 million visitors in the year 2016 and record a 26% annual tourist arrivals growth, Sri Lanka Tourism announced today amidst the unveiling of a new tourism promotional strategy for next year.

The new plan has been formulated based on five key strategic objectives and includes increasing average daily expenditure of a tourist up to US$ 200 and average stay and contributing to generate a total tourism revenue up to US$ 2.75 billion as the key performance measures. (The Nation)

Sri Lanka central bank raises reserve ratio to 7.50 pct; key rates unchanged
Sri Lanka's central bank on Wednesday raised the statutory reserve ratio for commercial banks by 150 basis points to 7.50 percent, to stabilise a rupee hovering near record lows.

The central bank left its key interest rates unchanged, at record lows. A Reuters poll had predicted rates would be raised by 25 bps. (REUTERS)

SLFP on brink of destruction : Can it be saved ?
SLFP is on a path of self-destruction ably assisted unwittingly by its hierarchy.

Those at the helm are the ones who are taking the party to oblivion notwithstanding holding the prime positions of Presidency and partner of a National Government and holds peak positions in the Cabinet. A tragi-comedy is unfolding? (Daily Mirror)

AG to retire on January 09: Wijeyadasa pushing Suhada Gamlath as new AG
Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapaksa is likely to nominate Solicitor General Suhada Gamlath as the new Attorney General, Justice Ministry sources told Asian Mirror.

Current Attorney General Yuwanjana Wanasundara is to retire from service on January 09. The current Attorney General, who was appointed during the tenure of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has not sought a service extension.(Asian Mirror)

> Woman blackmailer arrested
A 30-year-old woman who has engaged in mobile phone blackmailing has been arrested by Colombo Crime Division, yesterday.

Six mobile phones and an amount of 30550 rupees have also taken into police custody. (CEYLON TODAY)

Organisers of 'sexy' Iglesias show should be whipped, says Sri Lankan president
Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena said on Sunday that organisers of a recent concert by pop star Enrique Iglesias in Colombo should be "whipped with toxic stingray tails" because it was "uncivilised."

capital Colombo saw ecstatic local women running on stage to hug and kiss the "Hero" singer while others threw their underwear at him, Sirisena told a public meeting in the eastern district of Ampara. (Times of India)

'No party called Our Sri Lanka Freedom Front'
Pro-Mahinda Rajapaksa political coffers categorically denied yesterday of ever having formed a political party named Our Sri Lanka Freedom Front to contest the forthcoming local government polls.

UPFA Parliamentarian Vasudeva Nanayakkara said they are in the standby for contesting the local government election separately. (Daily News)

Sri Lankan Parliament to convene as a Constitutional Assembly on January 9
Sri Lanka's parliament will function as a Constituent Assembly when it reconvenes in the new year after the holidays on January 9, according to report in the state-run English weekly Sunday Observer.

The newspaper quoting top government sources said when the House is convened on January 9 it is expected to adopt a resolution presented by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to continue parliamentary proceedings as a Constitutional Assembly. (Colombo Page)

New Sri Lanka dollar bond issue offers value!
Ceylon/serendib is a teardrop-shaped island in the Indian Ocean that has enthralled me ever since I visited the hill resorts of Nuwara Eliya and the exquisite ruins of Anuradhapura as a boy. The tragic, terrible civil war against the Tamil Tigers (1983-2009), the Asian tsunami (2004) and the 10-year autocratic "family business" rule of ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa were a nightmare for Sri Lanka. Yet Sri Lanka's political transformation has not been rewarded by the financial markets.

In January 2015, President Sirisena has replaced the pro-China Rajapaksa clan and marginalized them with a victory in the August 2015 parliamentary election. Sri Lanka finally has a government committed to democratic principles, privatisation and economic reform (Colombo as the Indian Ocean's new Dubai and Singapore? Why not?) reconciliation with the Tamil ethnic minority after the human rights trauma in Jaffna when the military vanquished the LTTE in 2009 and killed Velupillai Prabhakaran. (Khaleej Times)

Geetha tears into Hirunika
‘Is Colombo District MP free to run Kangaroo courts?’
Having often castigated the previous government for abusing power, UNP MP Hirunika Premachandra had shown what she was really capable of, UPFA parliamentarian Geetha Kumarasinghe said yesterday.

Galle District MP Geetha told The Island that Hirunika had become a law unto herself. (The Island)

President says Muslims can make a significant contribution for reconciliation
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena today said the Muslim community in Sri Lanka can contribute significantly to the efforts of his government for reconciliation among all communities.

"I trust those who follow the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, in Sri Lanka, can make a significant contribution to building a nation rich in tolerance, understanding and reconciliation, which will strengthen the efforts to take the country on the forward march to progress," the President said in a message to mark Meelad-un-Nabi, the birth of Prophet Muhammad (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka invites KSA to set up oil refinery
Sri Lanka has invited Saudi Arabia to set up a petroleum refinery in the southern part of the island, the country’s Central Bank Gov. Arjuna Mahendran said here.

In addition to meeting the needs of Sri Lanka, he said such a refinery could tap markets in neighboring countries such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. (Arab News)

Sharif’s Sri Lanka visit to see signing of 10 pacts
Sri Lanka and Pakistan are expected to sign 10 pacts during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visit to Colombo next month.

A spokesperson of the Pakistan High Commission said Mr. Sharif would be here “mostly in the first week of January”. (The hindu)

Saudis commute maid's stoning death sentence: Sri Lanka
A Saudi Arabian court has commuted the death-by-stoning sentence passed on a Sri Lankan maid convicted of adultery, the government in Colombo said on Wednesday.

"We have succeeded in getting the death sentence overturned. Our concern was to make sure that the original sentence was not carried out," Harsha de Silva, the deputy foreign minister, told reporters in Sri Lanka's capital.. (Middle East Eye)

US examines future role of Sri Lanka's security forces
The United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia Dr. Amy Searight, who visited Sri Lanka between December 17th to 19th, examined the future role Sri Lankan security forces could play in humanitarian assistance, responding to natural disasters, and increasing participation in overseas peacekeeping operations.

A high profile US delegation, met with Defense Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi as well as Foreign Secretary Chitranganee Wagiswara to discuss the Sri Lankan government's efforts relating to security sector reform. Training and vetting personnel for United Nations peacekeeping operations was also a focus. (Hiru News)

Sri Lanka Finlay’s get regulator nod for delisting
Finlay’s Sri Lanka unit, a blender and packager of tea exports has received the approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission to delist its ordinary shares from the Colombo Stock Exchange, a statement said..

“The offer documents on the exit offer to be made by James Finlay Ltd. of London and then will be sent to the rest of the shareholders in due course,” the company said in a stock exchange filling. (Lanka Business Online)

Man arrested in Sri Lanka for 'smuggling gold bars in rectum'
Sri Lankan authorities have arrested a man at an airport in Colombo for allegedly trying to smuggle gold bars hidden in his rectum.

Officers at Bandaranaike international airport had noticed he was walking suspiciously, a spokesman said. Gold weighing 400g (14oz), worth about 2m Sri Lankan rupees (£9,400), was found hidden inside the suspect’s rectal cavity, a customs spokesman told the BBC. (The Guardian)

Suspect with disposal tea arrested
A suspect has been arrested and 15500kg disposal tea leaves seized in a round up at an illegally operated tea factory in Batapola Kahapitiya area.

The HIRU News reporter stated that the round up was carried out by the Galle Police Special Task Force (STF) officials yesterday night. (Hiru News)

Korea willing to assist Sri Lanka to develop fishing industry
The Government of South Korea is willing to extend fully-pledged support to promote the Fisheries Industry in Sri Lanka, the Korean Ambassador to Colombo Won-sam Chang has informed the State Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Dilip Wedaarachchi, the Fisheries Ministry said.

At a meeting with the Sri Lankan minister recently, the Korean envoy has discussed ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the field of fisheries. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka inflation accelerates to 4.8-pct in November
Sri Lanka’s consumer prices rose 4.8 percent in the 12-months to November from a year earlier, from the 3.0 percent a month earlier, data from the state statistics office showed.

Year on year inflation of Food Group has increased from 2.3 percent in October 2015 to 4.6 percent in November while Non-food Group also increased by 3.5 percent to 4.9 percent during this period. (Lanka Business Online)

Sri Lanka implements dengue elimination program
The Ministry of Health of the government of Sri Lanka recently began to implement a dengue elimination program in its Western Province.

The eradication program began Monday and will last for three days. As part of the program, the Health Ministry has created 426 teams to handle its application. (Vaccine News)

GMOA, TUs to strike in first week of 2016
The Government Medical Officers' Association (GMOA) confirmed that they along with other trade unions will go on strike, in the first week of January 2016, over unresolved issues pertaining to the 2016 Budget, the private medical college in Malabe and the proposed Indo-Sri Lanka Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA).

Secretary of the GMOA, Dr. Nalinda Herath said that plans to take trade union action this week would be postponed as they would embark on a massive awareness programme to make the public, MPs and all public servants aware of the said problems. (CEYLON TODAY)

Move to discredit Gotabaya over Eknaligoda case: Gammanpila
The ‘real’ killer of missing journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda might be a powerful minister of the present government, Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) Secretary Udaya Gammanpila predicts.

He made the observation at a press conference held in Colombo this afternoon (21). (Ada Derana)

MR visits arrested military personnel
Former President and Kurunegala district MP Mahinda Rajapaksa today made a visit to the Prison Hospital in Welikada to meet the five army personnel who had been arrested for their alleged involvement in the abduction and murder of Prageeth Eknaligoda (Daily Mirror)

Hirunika Premachandra's defender involved in abduction: Suspects yet to be arrested
A defender belonging to MP Hirunika Premachandra was involved in an abduction of a youth in Demetagoda yesterday, according to preliminary inquiries.

According to the police, the suspects involved in the act have been identified. (Asian Mirror)

Sri Lankan military to be modernized with Indian help: PM Ranil Wickremesinghe
Sri Lanka's military is set to be modernized with assistance from militarily advanced nations such as India, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Sunday

Wickremesinghe was addressing a military passing out parade in the central town of Diyathalawa. (Times of India)

Doctors take up crucial issues with President
The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) yesterday alleged that the ten-thousand-rupee public sector salary increase was in contravention of the long standing 1:4 ‘salary compression ratio’.

GMOA Secretary Dr. Nalinda Herath yesterday said the contravention of ‘salary compression ratio’ had been one of the four major contentious issues caused by the recently passed budget. (The Island)

Move to arrest Mahinda, Gotabaya over Eknaligoda case: MWR
There is a move to arrest former President Mahinda Rajapaksha and former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksha over the disappearance case of missing journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda, Convener of the Mawbima Wenuwen Ranawiruwo organization Major Ajith Prasanna says.

He made the observation at a press conference held in Colombo this afternoon (20). The police have so far arrested five suspects who have been identified as intelligence officers in connection with the case. (Ada Derana)

Sri Lanka eager to share ‘Make in India’ avenues
Sri Lanka is eager to share the opportunities created by major government plans such as Make in India and Digital India.

Sri Lanka is eager to share the opportunities created by major government plans such as Make in India and Digital India. (The Hindu)

Sri Lanka launches probe of bid to fix cricket match
CMC-The Sri Lankan government says it has launched a probe into a bid to bribe members of the national cricket team to under-perform in a recent Test match against West Indies.

The country’s sports minister Dayasiri Jayasekera revealed on Friday that a man linked to a bookmaker had offered wicketkeeper Kusal Perera and bowler Rangana Herath tens of thousands of dollars to trigger a batting collapse at a Test in Galle in October. (Stabroek News)

Sri Lanka desires strong defence ties with China, India
Sri Lanka needs to have strong defence ties with countries like China and India, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Sunday.

Addressing an event to mark the recruitment of a new batch of soldiers to the military, he said the army needs to modernize to be on par with the developing world, reports Xinhua news agency. (Zee News)

Two Senior DIGs to be quizzed over Thajudeen's murder
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) is to record a statement from Senior DIG S.K.D.S. Gunawardane in connection with ruggerite Wasim Thajudeen's murder, today (21).

(CEYLON TODAY)

Wigneswaran forms new organization: first step towards splitting TNA?
The Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province has formed a new “non-political” organization which observers see as the first step towards splitting the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) which he represents in the Northern Provincial Council (NPC).

The outfit, christened Tamil Makkal Peravai or Tamil Peoples’ Assembly (TPA), was formed after a four-hour meeting at the Jaffna Public Library. (Ada Derana)

Message from Sri Lanka tourism chairman Paddy Withana
With the tourist arrivals on the increase we hope to create new avenues for travellers to enjoy the experience in Sri Lanka. Christmas is highly celebrated by people around the world with great enjoyment and this event will expose Sri Lanka as a destination for festivities..

It will add value to the existing product offering of the country and showcase our country on par with other countries celebrating the season. We hope to create and sustain local events, not only benefiting the local economy but also have positive impacts for tourism. (Sunday Leader)

No free-hold lands in China-funded port city project: Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka today said that the Chinese-funded Colombo Port City project will go ahead but the companies will not get any free-hold land for the controversial $1.4 billion project.

"We are looking at the environment impact assessment report and the project will go ahead. But there will be no free-hold of lands there," Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told parliament. (Business Standard)

SLFP and joint Opp. will not keep quiet-MR
The SLFP and the Joint Opposition will not keep quiet about the changes that were taking place in the country today, former President and Kurunegala UPFA MP Mahinda Rajapaksa said.

Speaking at the 80th celebration of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) the former President said the citizens were now witnessing an age where they were waiting for ships to bring in supplies. (Daily Mirror)

Gammanpila’s take on school uniform material vouchers
Giving vouchers in place of school uniform material has stirred a hornet’s nest! Parents, teachers and principals are all protesting. Their main grouse is this hassles and harasses everyone. Some even allege that this a sinister plot to slowly phase out free uniforms altogether.

Some others rightly point out that not everyone needs this assistance. Thus, this will help the government to identify the exact numbers needing the assistance and provide accordingly. (The Island)

2016 Budget third reading passed
The third reading of the 2016 Budget was passed in Parliament today with a majority of 109 votes. A total of 160 members voted in favour while 51 voted against.

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and several UPFA parliamentarians of the joint opposition voted against the budget. However, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC) leader Arumugam Thondaman, Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) MP Douglas Devananda and UPFA MP Lakshman Seneviratne voted in favour.(Ada Derana)

Sri Lanka scuttles Gadkari’s plan for bridge over palk strait
Sri Lanka has scuttled Indian Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari’s proposal to build a bridge across the Palk Strait.

“We are against it because people of Sri Lanka are opposed to it. We cannot let India build a bridge,” the Lankan Minister of Highways, Lakshman Kiriella, told the media here on Friday. (The Hindu)

Mark Mobius – Travels in Sri Lanka: The political and investment climate
My team and I recently traveled to Sri Lanka and saw firsthand its great appeal as a tourist draw. We crisscrossed the country by air and by automobile, visiting a few of its cultural attractions and speaking with officials there.

Along the way we gained a better understanding of the people and the business climate. (ValueWalk)

Sri Lanka bars foreign firms in gem mining sector
Sri Lanka’s President, Maithripala Sirisena, on Saturday said foreign companies would not be allowed to enter gem mining industry in the country.

Sri Lankans had requested Mr. Sirisena to take steps to stop mining by foreign firms during his election campaign last year. (The Hindu)

Peace on earth: TV explorer Levison Wood is captivated by the goodwill and serene scenery of Sri Lanka
Victoria Park is a delightful botanical garden. It sits a short stroll down the hill, past the golf course and post office — where red letter- boxes bear George V’s seal.

On the lawns of an adjacent hotel, white benches overlook the tennis courts. But nobody is playing today because, despite the balmy warmth, a storm is brewing. (Daily Miail)

Interview: Sri Lanka aims to expand air links with China to attract more tourists
Sri Lanka is targeting more Chinese airlines to arrive in the island nation as the government looks to further expand its tourism industry next year, Senior Advisor to the Tourism Minister, Felix Srimal Rodrigo said.

"Sri Lanka is an island which means tourists can only reach here by air transport. Establishing strong air links will boost our tourism industry," Rodrigo told Xinhua in an exclusive interview. (XinhuaNet)

Vehicle permits; Complaint lodged with FCID
The All Ceylon Customs Services Union (ACCSU) yesterday complained to the Financial Crime Investigation Division (FCID) about a Rs.1 billion fraud on vehicles imported on permit.

It said the fraud had taken place at the Customs when it released vehicles imported on permits and thus evading taxes.(Daily Mirror)

Award winning factory closed over Rs. 2,500 pay hike dispute in EPZ
Among those who had won presidential awards at Wednesday’s ceremony at the Nelum Pokuna theatre was Everest Industrial Lanka Pvt Limited recently closed due to a strike launched by its workers demanding a Rs. 2,500 salary increase proposed by the government.

The factory situated at the Katunayake Export Processing Zone (EPZ) received presidential awards for electric and electronic export category for 2012 and 2013. (The Island)

All Chinese infrastructure projects to proceed, Sri Lanka says
Sri Lanka's government said Thursday that it would go ahead with billions of dollars' worth of Chinese projects, almost a year after declaring it would cancel them because of corruption and overpricing.

The government of President Maithripala Sirisena, elected in January, had suspended many of the projects that critics have described as sweetheart deals between China and the previous administration. (Voice of America)

Sri Lanka to convert its Parliament to ‘Constitutional Assembly’ next year
On January 9 when Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena will begin his second year in office, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will move a resolution in Parliament for converting the House into a Constitutional Assembly, marking the formal inauguration of the process of making a new Constitution in the place of the 1978 Constitution.

As per the draft text of the resolution that has been hosted on the website of Prime Minister’s Office, the proposed Assembly, comprising all Members of Parliament, would seek the views and advice of the people on a fresh Constitution and prepare a draft one. (The Hindu)

Renewed US-Sri Lanka relations: A Slobbering love affair
There was another high-level U.S. visit to Sri Lanka this week. State Department Counselor Thomas Shannon visited the island nation from December 14-16.

The highlight of his trip seems to have been the formal announcement that the first “U.S.-Sri Lanka Partnership Dialogue” will be held in Washington this February. (The Diplomat)

159 Indians arrested in Sri Lanka for visa abuse in 2015, says minister
Sri Lanka on Thursday said that around 159 Indians were among 402 people arrested in the country for alleged abuse of entry visa during 2015.

"They have been arrested for various illegal acts including illegal employment and illegal religious propaganda work," Internal Affairs Minister SB Nawinna told parliament. Three foreigners were arrested for begging, he added. (dna)

Floating armoury: Court insists vessel be handed over to shipping co.
The Galle Deputy Habour Master was ordered by court today to carry out immediately the earlier court order to release the ship that contained the floating armoury to the shipping company or else action would be taken against him for contempt of court.

Galle Chief Magistrate Nilupuli Lankatilleka severely warned the Deputy Harbour Master for his failure to enforce the court order and held that the approval of the Navy or the CID was not required to enforce a court order. (Daily Mirror)

Budget alterations to cost seven billion rupees more – Ravi
Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake yesterday told Parliament that four recent amendments introduced by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to the budget proposals had resulted in the budget deficit increasing by seven billion rupees.

Minister Karunanayke said he would inform the House on Dec. 19 how he would tackle the increase in the budget deficit. (The Island)

Sri Lanka claims conspiracy against suspended wicketkeeper Kusal Perera
Sri Lanka's sports minister has claimed Kusal Perera's failed drug test could be a conspiracy to keep the wicketkeeper out of the T20 World Cup.

Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera told parliament that authorities will send a "B" sample for testing after the International Cricket Council announced last week that Perera tested positive for a banned steroid during a random check, forcing him to return home from his team's tour of New Zealand. (Stuff)

Plan to build sea bridge, tunnel to Sri Lanka, says Gadkari
Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said India is planning to build a sea bridge and tunnel connecting Sri Lanka.

“The Asian Development Bank is ready to fully finance a bridge-building project connecting Rameshwaram to Sri Lanka. The project was also discussed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his counterpart during the latter’s recent visit,” the minister said in a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha (Deccan Herald)

Crowd funding real estate in Sri Lanka; pros and cons
In real estate, debt-based crowd funding is gaining attention, and quickly becoming a popular method of investment. While the stock exchange can be volatile, crowd funding offers investors the chance to purchase a stake in the project, gaining recognition and return on investment if the project is successful.

Crowd funding is a means of raising money to fund a project by requesting small amounts of money from a large group of people, in return for equity of the project or monetary gains. It is a fairly new term to the Sri Lankan real estate market; traditionally, most developments around the country have been funded by large multinational corporations.(Lanka Business Online)

Meaningful, lasting reforms needed in Sri Lanka: IMF
The Government of Sri Lanka has been encouraged to ensure that its finances are sustainable, after temporarily buoying its fiscal position with largely one-off measures

In a new report, the International Monetary Fund said that Sri Lanka's 2015 deficit target will likely be very difficult to achieve, with the Government's revenue targets said to be optimistic. (Tax News)

Sri Lanka, ADB sign US$ 200 million loan agreements to develop rural roads
The Government of Sri Lanka has been encouraged to ensure that its finances are sustainable, after temporarily buoying its fiscal position with largely one-off measures

In a new report, the International Monetary Fund said that Sri Lanka's 2015 deficit target will likely be very difficult to achieve, with the Government's revenue targets said to be optimistic. (Tax News)

Opposition questions US interest on Sri Lanka
The opposition today questioned the keen interest the United States is having on Sri Lanka with several top US officials already having visited the country this year.

Opposition Parliamentarian Dullas Alahaperuma said that while the Government says it is following a middle line in Sri Lanka’s foreign policy, the reality does not seem to be the case.(Colombo Gazette)

Beware of flood affected south Indian scroungers invading Sri Lanka
November 2015 brought South India one of the biggest natural disasters it faced in decades. Floods killed over 500 people, displaced over 2.5 million people and caused over $15 billion property damage. Mismanagement, corruption and callous disregard for human life, especially those considered “low-caste” have pushed many South Indians into utter desperation.

Another Tamil illegal migration to Sri Lanka is expected soon from South India as happened in 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Sri Lankan government must prevent this calamity by denying them entry into the island nation. (Lankaweb)

BBS protests to Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka.
The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) will be going to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka today to lodge an official protest against the two anti-hate speech Draft Bills presented in Parliament recently which seeks to criminalize by interpretation anything said that could allegedly instigate communal violence and disharmony.

A BBS delegation is expected to arrive at the HRCSL offices at 10 a.m. today.BBS General Secretary Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera was perplexed by the haste with which the Government tabled the two Bills in Parliament, sandwiched between the Budget debate before first putting the substance of those Bills for public discussion and debate. (CEYLON TODAY)

Rajitha's daughter-in-law studying at SAITM: IUSF
The Inter-University Students' Federation (IUSF) said that Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne's daughter-in-law (MP Chathura Senaratne's wife), Sarupa Samangi Manathunga was following a course at the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) and that that was why Dr. Senaratne was striving to protect SAITM.

AIUSF convener Lahiru Weerasekara said they were informed by reliable sources at SAITM that the health minister's daughter-in-law was studying there and that her registration number was MF121F 006MD77. (Daily Mirror)

Ranil alters Budget
Laws to increase private sector salaries by Rs 2,500 Lease valuation fee reduced to Rs 5,000 Rs 2,000 of the Rs 10,000 allowance paid to public sector employees added to basic salaries Emission test fee reduced to Rs 1,500

Announcing that he was ready to relinquish the Premiership if he cannot use it to build the nation, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in Parliament yesterday that Rs 2,000 of the Rs 10,000 allowance paid to public sector employees would be added to their basic salaries with effect from January 2016. (CEYLON TODAY)

Devananda to face trial on January 18
Nearly after three decades, the stage is set for the trial in Tamil Nadu against former Sri Lankan minister Douglas Devananda in a murder case with a sessions court issuing summons to 18 witnesses for their appearance before the court on January 18, 2016, for examination.

Allowing the petition filed by the prosecution, IV Additional sessions judge M Shanthi split up the trial against Douglas Devananda and 8 other absconding accused in the 1986 murder case and ordered issuance of summons to 18 witnesses for examination on January 18.(Asian Mirror)

U.S.-Sri Lanka Partnership Dialogue to begin in February
The inaugural meeting of the United States-Sri Lanka Partnership Dialogue will take place in Washington in February 2016.

Announcing this after meeting Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera at his office on Monday, the U.S. Under Secretary of State (designate) Thomas Shannon told reporters that the annual meeting would provide an opportunity to discuss all aspects of the relationship and ways in which "the U.S. may be able to engage directly" with the people and government of Sri Lanka. (The Hindu)

Sri Lanka raises salaries of over a million workers
Sri Lanka’s government Monday raised the basic salaries of more than a million public-sector workers and announced plans for a national minimum wage in the private sector to try to avert a general strike.

After unions had threatened to stop work from Tuesday, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe promised that all 1.3 million public-sector worker would receive a basic 10,000 rupee a month ($70) increase from January, backing down on earlier (Arab News)

Lanka Bank employees union stand alone, strike today
The Lanka Bank Employees’ Union says that it will implement an island-wide strike today over the budget’s non-provision of solutions to problems experienced in the bank sector and the 2016 budget.

However the Bank Executives’ Union, the National Employees’ Union and the Sri Lanka Freedom Employees’ Union said that they will not be joining the strike. (Hiru News)

Sumathipala: Rs 500 mn spent on cricket board salaries
Deputy Speaker and appointed MP Thilanga Sumathipala yesterday declared that his team’s triumph at the forthcoming Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Board elections was a forgone conclusion due to three of his team mates already having secured positions uncontested.

Entrepreneur Sumathipala who had been previously involved in the SLC administration is in the fray for the post of President. Sumathipala is vying with Nishantha Ranatunga for the top post. (The Island)

Sri Lanka ranks high in human development at 73 among 188 countries
Sri Lanka maintained its rank in the 'high human development category' at 73rd place according to a report released on Monday by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on the human development of 188 countries.

The 2015 Report, Work for Human Development, was officially launched in the Ethiopian capital of Adis Ababa on Monday. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka blinks in union showdown to avert shutdown
Sri Lanka's government Monday raised the basic salaries of more than a million public-sector workers and announced plans for a national minimum wage in the private sector to try to avert a general strike.

After unions had threatened to stop work from Tuesday, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe promised that all 1.3 million public-sector worker would receive a basic 10,000 rupee a month ($70) increase from January, backing down on earlier plans only to raise their allowances (Daily Mail)

Maithripala Sirisena meets Pope Francis, discusses peace process in Sri Lanka
Pope Francis on Monday received Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena at the Vatican where they discussed the peace process in the island nation, the Holy See said.

Francis and Sirisena also exchanged views on the environment and the landmark deal signed on Saturday at the UN climate change conference in Paris. (First Post)

Another high-level US visit to Sri Lanka this week
Another high-level U.S. visit to Sri Lanka occurs this week. Since the election of President Maithripala Sirisena in January, there seems to be no limit to the number of times that senior State Department officials visit the island nation.

Counselor Thomas Shannon will be in Sri Lanka from December 14-16. He’ll spend a couple days in Bangladesh prior to his arrival. Nisha Biswal, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian affairs will join him, as will Manpreet Singh Anand, Deputy Assistant Secretary for South Asia. (The Diplomart)

US blocks visa for Field Marshal Fonseka
The US Embassy has yet not given approval to the visa application submitted by Democratic Party Leader Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka two weeks ago, sources close to Field Marshal Fonseka said today

Sources said the US State Department has blocked Field Marshal Fonseka's visa application for the past two weeks in connection with war crimes charges against Sri Lanka during the time he was the army commander. (Daily Mirror)

Trade union strike to go ahead as talks fail
A planned island-wide strike by a collective of government, semi-government and private sector trade unions is expected to go ahead on Tuesday (Dec 15) after talks with the government failed.

Representatives of the trade unions held a discussion with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and government officials today regarding theirs objection to certain proposals made in the 2016 budget. (Ada Derana)

President to change the budget
President Maithripala Sirisena is expected to brief the Cabinet of Ministers later this week on changes he wants effected in the Budget 2016 proposals which have direct negative impact on the people.

He could also be addressing the nation on these changes, according to our source.(CEYLON TODAY)

Basil Rajapaksa indicted in high court
Former Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa and former Director General of Divi Neguma Department Kingsley Ranawaka have been indicted at the Colombo High Court.

They have been indicted on six counts, covering alleged offenses under the Presidential Elections Act and the Penal code.(Asian Mirror)

Kabir-Ravi clash triggering Cabinet reshuffle
The marriage of the UNP-SLFP coalition government seems to be on the rocks with internal clashes that were kept under the carpets so far, reaching a threatening level of going out of control.

The government seems to have started counting its days with relationship between government hierarchies and its Finance Minister getting sour and the greatest international pillar of support India frowning at a defence deal between Sri Lanka and India's arch rival Pakistan.(CEYLON TODAY)

Prices of essential commodities will be increased in twenty days: Bandula Gunawardena
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Gunawardena argued that the reduction of prices proposed in the budget cannot be seen in the market. The people have not gained the advantages of price reductions as claimed by the government, he said.

Gunawardena also said that the government will introduce a price mechanism for fuel from next year.(Asian Mirror)

Sri Lanka vs Human Rights: Encouraging signs, more to be done
As International Human Rights Day was commemorated last Thursday, a top UN official said that there were encouraging signs that Sri Lanka will deal with human rights concerns related to the war but the new government was not willing to go all the way.

Christof Heyns, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said that for him Sri Lanka stands out as the most defining moment when carrying out his mandate in 2015.(Sunday Leader)

Man given up for dead in Sri Lanka alive in India
A Chennai taxi driver, Boomi Durai N, suspected to have died in floods and whose body was believed to have washed ashore in Sri Lanka on December 6 is alive and well.

The 41-year-old, the driver of private bus in the city, is a native of Poosaripalayam in Coimbatore. With the discovery of Durai the mystery has deepened over the identity of the man whose body fishermen found off Trincomallee port in Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province and handed over to the nation’s navy.(Weelend Nation)

Doctors cannot hide behind parliamentary privileges – GMOA
The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) yesterday refuted allegations leveled against them by Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe in Parliament on Wednesday (09) stating that it was an apolitical organisation.

Addressing an urgently called for media briefing at the OPA, GMOA Spokesman Dr. Navin de Soysa said that unlike Prime Minister Wickremesinghe the union could not take cover behind Parliamentary privileges to defend itself. "We have only the power of our membership by way of our defence," he said..(The Island)

Sri Lanka clears the decks for controversial Chinese project
The Sri Lankan government has cleared the decks for the controversial Colombo Port City project to resume, the country’s finance minister told the South China Morning Post.

Executives at the related Chinese companies who cannot be identified separately told the Post that the project was expected to restart around February, after all the final details had been worked out.(China Morning Post)

IMF warns Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka's economic outlook remains uncertain, and the island's performance will depend to a large extent on the course set for economic policies in the coming months, the IMF said in a statement dated Wednesday released yesterday.

The risks are tilted to the downside. Underlying growth momentum appears relatively firm and the outlook for headline inflation looks contained, it said.(CEYLON TODAY)

Sri Lanka hopes to do well in SAFF event
The Sri Lankan national football coach Sampath Perera exuded confidence and hope that his young team will put up a good show in the upcoming SAFF football championship which will be held in Thiruvananthapuram later this month.

Speaking to The Hindu after his team’s first training session at the LNCPE Kariyavattom here on Wednesday, the 50-year-old former captain said that team’s ambition is to reach the finals of the tournament.(The Hindu)

Avant Garde: AG faulted for the way probe is handled
Former ambassador to Rome Hemantha Warnakulasuriya, PC, yesterday alleged that the Attorney General Yuwanjan Wanasundara Wijethilake as well as Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakse, PC had deviated from accepted time-tested procedures in respect of the Avant Garde Maritime Services (AGMS) case involving unauthorised use of weapons.

In a no-holds-barred interviews telecast live on Sirasa and MTV with Bandula Jayasekera and Faraz Shauketaly, Warnakulasuriya asserted that the AG’s actions might have been influenced by the Criminal Investigation Department(The Island)

Scottish landmine charity reaches major milestone in war-torn Sri Lanka
A Scottish charity says it has reached a significant milestone after clearing its 200,000th landmine from a former worn-torn part of Sri Lanka.

Work by the Halo Trust to make land that was once a battleground safe again has helped more than 150,000 people return home and resume their lives after years of displacement.(Herald Scotland)

Uber takes to the road in Sri Lanka
Taxi app company Uber launched Wednesday in Sri Lanka, a country dominated by three-wheel, auto rickshaws, as part of the U.S. start-up's growing push into Asia.

Uber said it hopes to snatch a large share of the taxi market through its mobile app service in a country where 20 percent of the 21 million-strong population owns smartphones.(Daily Sabah)

Thajudeen case: CID says CCTV footage not clear
The Criminal Investigation Department probing into the controversial death of Havelock’s rugby star Wasim Thajudeen would seek expert assistance to retrieve the footages captured on CCTV camera system that would reveal a substantial amount of evidence on the suspected murder.

Police Spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said detectives would decide on sending the footages to the Department of Computer Science and Engineering of the University of Moratuwa for its expert analysis to retrieve certain visuals.(Daily Mirror

Sri Lanka exports fall 6 pct in September, imports down 5-pct
Sri Lanka external trade continued to contract in September with exports falling 5.9 percent to 850 million US dollars and imports falling 5.1 percent to 1,583 million US dollars, compared to the same month last year, official data showed.

The Central Bank said industrial exports fell 4.7 percent to 636 million US dollars led by subdued performance of rubber products, gems, diamonds and jewellery, machinery and mechanical appliances and printing industry.(Lanka Business Online)

Will report to new COPE over CB Bond sale issue: Bandula
The joint opposition would report to the newly appointed Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) regarding the controversial Central Bank Bond sale once the budget period was passed in parliament, UPFA MP Bandula Gunawardena said.

Addressing a news conference today at the Dr. N. M. Perera Centre, MP Gunawardena said the Central Bank Bond Sale was the main reason for the record depreciation of the rupee against the US Dollar. (Daily Mirror)

Release of remaining hardcore Tigers poses serious threat – Gota
Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has alleged that among those LTTE cadres expected to be released soon by the government are two hard core undercover operatives responsible for executing all major attacks in Colombo and its suburbs.

Rajapaksa said one of them was known as Morris, the kingpin of LTTE terror project in Colombo. Morris had masterminded the abortive assassination bid on then Army Chief Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka on the afternoon of April 25, 2006, he added. The other operative has been identified as Giri. (The Island)

Nissanka Senadhipathi arrives at CID
The Chairman of Avant-Garde Security Services, Major (rtd) Nissanka Senadhipathi has arrived at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) a short while ago to give a statement, Police told Ada Derana. (Ada Derana)

India committed to build 50,000 houses for Sri Lanka IDPs
India is committed to build 50,000 houses for internally displaced people in Sri Lanka, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju informed the Indian parliament.

Minister Rijiju said the project plans construction of new houses and repair of damaged houses and it is being implemented through two models, agency driven and owner-beneficiary driven, Press Trust of India reported. (Colombo Page)

Saudi to consider appeal against stoning of maid – Sri Lanka ministry
Saudi authorities have agreed to consider an appeal against the sentence of death by stoning imposed on a 45-year-old Sri Lankan maid for adultery, Sri Lanka's deputy foreign minister said on Tuesday, welcoming the decision as a "big victory."

The married woman, who had been working as a domestic helper in Riyadh since 2013, was convicted by a Saudi court in August. Her partner, also a Sri Lankan migrant worker, was given a lesser punishment of 100 lashes because he was single (GMA)

Sri Lanka detains former stock regulator chief in misappropriation probe
Sri Lankan police on Monday detained a former chairman of the country's stock market regulator amid an investigation into financial misappropriation, days after detaining another top regulatory official, a police spokesman said.

Nalaka Godahewa was chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for nearly two years under former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was unseated in a bitterly contested election in January, and stepped down after the poll.(REUTERS)

Sri Lanka wicketkeeper Kusal Janith Perera sent home from New Zealand after positive drugs test
SRI Lanka wicketkeeper Kusal Perera has been sent home from his team’s cricket tour of New Zealand after failing a doping test during an earlier home series against Pakistan.

Sri Lanka Cricket confirmed Perera’s recall in a statement Monday. It said he had been randomly selected for a drug test during the Pakistan series and his A sample had tested positive for a banned substance.(Daily Telegraph)

Sri Lanka pleads poor maid sentenced to death by stoning
Colombo has expressed concern to Saudi Arabia after a Sri Lankan housemaid working in the country was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, an official said today.

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera met the Saudi envoy to Colombo last week and raised the case of the woman and a man convicted alongside her, and asked to speak to his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir.(NDTV)

Sri Lanka seeks to bridge India and China
The newly elected Sri Lankan government is seeking to be a "bridge" between its giant Asian neighbors -- India and China -- in the Indian Ocean, a region where they are generally viewed as competitors, the island nation's finance minister has said.

In an interview with the Nikkei Asian Review, Ravi Karunanayake said Sri Lanka followed a non-aligned, neutral policy for both countries and referred to his country as a "genuine friend of India and China." At the same time, Karunanayake said Sri Lanka envisioned a greater role for itself in the economic regionalism of the Indian Ocean. (Nikkei)

JVP condemns proposal to exempt tax
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) today criticized the budget proposal to exempt taxes on foreigners when purchasing lands in Sri Lanka and asked whether those who voted for the government were foreigners.

Addressing a news conference held at the party headquarters in Battaramulla, JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said the same proposal was implemented by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in 2001 as the then Prime Minister. (Daily Mirror)

CID to summon Nissanka Senadhipathi
The chairman of Avant Garde Security Company Nissanka Senadhipathi will be summoned to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) within next few days, it was reported.

Nissanka Senadhipathi will be summoned to record a statement with respect to the controversial Avant Garde issue, the Police Spokesperson said. (Ada Derana)

UK to work with Lankan military
The UK will work with the Sri Lankan military on accountability issues in the wake of the country co-sponsoring a resolution at the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). British Defence Adviser in New Delhi will concurrently function as non-resident military representative for Sri Lanka to facilitate the process.

The UK is a member of the UNHRC comprising 47 countries.(The island)

Rich in national history and magnificent scenery, Sri Lanka is recovering its status as a tourist destination
Arriving at Colombo’s international airport at 2am, we were surprised to find people pushing trolleys piled with refrigerators, microwaves and other electrical goods. We’re told that duties on some items exceed 120 per cent, so it’s no wonder returning locals do tax-free appliance shopping there.

Buying whitegoods at the airport probably doesn’t qualify as a handy travel tip for tourists, but one piece of advice we can give is to buy your local currency there, as the airport dealers offered the best conversion rates we found anywhere in Sri Lanka.(Daily Telegraph)

A crematorium explodes during cremation of a body
A crematorium exploded during the cremation of a body in Meegahathenna in Walallaawita in Kalutara.

Police said that the crematorium was damaged , fortunately no one was injured.(Hiru News)

A crematorium explodes during cremation of a body
A crematorium exploded during the cremation of a body in Meegahathenna in Walallaawita in Kalutara.

Police said that the crematorium was damaged , fortunately no one was injured.(Hiru News)

Sri Lanka’s CSE eyes more global investors through new CCP
Sri Lanka’s Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) is aiming for more international investors by introducing a new risk management system through establishing a Central Counter Party (CCP) system, a senior official said.

“We need to manage the risk of the CSE – this is an area that we are lacking in,” Vajira Kulathilake, chairman Colombo Stock Exchange said.(Laanka Business Online)

Former President needs more security, his spokesperson says
Sri Lanka's former President Mahinda Rajapaksa needs additional security as the government started releasing LTTE prisoners, his media secretary Rohan Weliwita said in a statement today.

He said that security detail of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa should be increased rather than decreasing it, and additional army and police officers must be deployed to provide security to the former President. (Colombo Page)

‘No merger of Northern and Eastern Provinces’
Sri Lankan Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake has rejected the idea of merger of the Northern and Eastern Provinces for economic reasons.

To a question why the merger should not be allowed to achieve cost reduction — considering the fact that the Northern Province accounted for four per cent of the Sri Lanka’s gross domestic product (GDP) and the East — six per cent, Mr. Karunanayake told The Hindu on Friday (The Hindu)

Sri Lanka to consult Basel Institute on handling corruption and financial crimes
The Sri Lankan government has received cabinet approval to enter into an agreement with the Basel Institute on Governance in Switzerland to obtain the consultations of the institute on handling corruption and financial crimes.

The Basel Institute on Governance is an independent not-for-profit competence center working globally with the public and private sectors to counter corruption and other financial crimes and to improve the quality of governance. (Colombo Page)

MR urges govt not to jeopardize national security over petty politics
"
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa today accused the government of “hastily” releasing “hard core terrorists” without regard to the nation’s security due to political pressure from certain interested quarters.

The Kurunegala District UPFA MP was delivering a speech in Parliament for the first time since being elected at the General Election in August.(Ada Derana)

The Paranagama Report: Who’s discrediting it, and why?
The speaker of these words was not former president Mahinda Rajapaksa or anyone in his government, but British Prime Minister David Cameron, expressing solidarity with French President Francois Hollande in the wake of the recent terror attacks in Paris. But it appears that what’s sauce for the goose is not sauce for the gander, as Western powers push for implementation of a US-led resolution crafted to make the Sri Lankan armed forces suffer ‘consequences’ for their role in defeating terrorism, in a part of the world far away from theirs.

The eruption of IS terror in Paris came at a time when in Sri Lanka, the Paranagama Second Mandate Report had become a subject of discussion, bringing into sharp focus the monumental hypocrisy of the Western political project in Sri Lanka. What is more surprising however is that the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) seems to be collaborating in it (having co-sponsored the resolution, for example).(Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka –Paradise Lost
As I walked out of the Airport on that wet morning in 2014, the heavy November showers did not dampen my enthusiasm to be in my beloved Sri Lanka. The crowds of our dear women who had spent difficult times in Arab homes in the Middle East were seen with tears in their eyes meeting those who had thronged to meet them with love and affection.

Their ordeals over in inhospitable Arab homes they seemed overwhelmed with happiness meeting their dear ones embracing and chatting away with each other. Western countries from one of which I was arriving could not match that happiness, laughter and uninhibited chatter amoung my people which enlivened that wet morning outside the Bandaranayake Airport in Sri Lanka.(Lankaweb)

IMF weighs Sri Lanka call for loan as Rupee falls to record
The International Monetary Fund is “considering options” for Sri Lanka after foreign-exchange reserves fell to the lowest in two years and the rupee’s drop to a record prompted the nation to seek a loan facility.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe this week said the government has informed the IMF of the need to have a standby agreement. The rupee is poised for its steepest decline since 2012 after the central bank in September eased intervention in the currency to salvage dwindling reserves. (Bloomberg)

Sri Lanka protests against stoning sentence of woman in Saudi Arabia
Hundreds of people held a protest here on Thursday against a decision by a Saudi Arabian court to stone to death a Sri Lankan maid who allegedly committed adultery in the Arab nation.

The protest, led by the New Generation organization composed mainly of youth Sri Lankan artists, was staged in front of the UN office in the capital of Colombo. (Global Post)

Sri Lanka stock exchange adopts Global Industry Classification Standards
Sri Lanka's Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) announced that it is adopting the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) to classify its listed companies along with S&P/CSE cobranded sector indices.

The Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS®) was jointly developed by Standard & Poor's and MSCI Barra to meet the global financial community's need for one complete, consistent set of global sector and industry definitions. The world's leading financial professionals across all investment disciplines, including asset managers, institutional investors, consultants, and researchers have adopted GICS as the classification standard. (Colombo Page)

IMF says looking at options for Sri Lanka, no formal request
Sri Lanka has not made a formal request for International Monetary Fund help but the fund's staff are looking at ways to help the island nation, an IMF spokesman said on Thursday.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said this week Sri Lanka would seek an IMF stand-by arrangement to fend off a risk that its economy will be hurt next year by repercussions from events affecting major economies. (REUTERS)

Sri Lanka's cabinet approves right to information bill
Sri Lanka's cabinet has approved a key legislation which will ensure the public has access to information from state institutions.

The Right to Information Bill has been approved by the cabinet and would soon be presented to parliament, Cabinet Spokesperson Rajitha Senaratne siad here at a weekly media briefing, Xinhua news agency reported. (Indian Express)

Sri Lanka says Chinese-backed project company can't buy freehold land
Sri Lanka's finance minister said on Wednesday restrictions on foreigners buying freehold land would also apply to a suspended Chinese-backed real estate project, in a move seen as addressing India's concerns about China's growing clout in the region

Chinese developers were due to buy 20 hectares of freehold land under the $1.4 billion 'port city' project in the capital Colombo agreed with Sri Lanka's previous government. (ET Realty)

Sri Lanka Treasuries yields fall
Sri Lanka’s 6-month Treasuries yields fell 10 basis points to 6.30 percent at Wednesday’s auction, data from the state debt office showed.

The 12-month yield fell six basis points to 6.86 percent while the three-month yield was down 38 basis points to 6.06 percent. (Lanka Business Online)

Thajudeen's death:a murder-Expert board
The death of ruggerite Wasim Thajudeen, whose burnt body was found in a vehicle near the Shalika Grounds in Narahenpita, was pronounced a murder in the final report submitted to Court today by a board of medical officers led by the Colombo Chief JMO, Dr. Ajith Tennakoon.

Complaints had been lodged with the CID that Thajudeen’s death on May 17, 2012, was not an accident. (Daily Mirror)

MS alleges secret MR-Diaspora link
Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera brought in some photographs of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Chamber yesterday as evidence to prove his allegation that the previous regime had secret deals with the LTTE and Tamil Diaspora.

Holding up the photographs during his speech at the second reading debate on budget proposals the Minister said: "I would like to give these photographs to my friend in the opposition, MEP leader Dinesh Gunawardena. I have heard that Dinesh Gunawardena has a Rajapaksa shrine at his home and he is worshipping the Rajapaksa’s pictures. So, Dinesh can take these, too, and put them up there in that shrine." (The Island)

India-Sri Lanka road link building ‘Hanuman Bridge’ still a concept: Minister
The proposal for India-Sri Lanka Road Connectivity is in the conceptual stage and no time line has been set for commencement of work on the project, said Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways Pon. Radhakrishnan in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha

Called modern “Ram Setu” or “Hanuman Bridge”, the stretch of low-lying banks that connect India to Sri Lanka across the Palk Strait bring back part of Ramayana lore. Legend goes that Lord Ram built this bridge with the assistance of Hanuman’s monkey army, walked into Lanka to rescue his consort Sita from King Ravana. (MF Monitor)

Sri Lanka TID to indict five LTTE suspects in apex court
Sri Lanka's Terrorist Investigations Division (TID) of police has said that it will take action to charge five former LTTE suspects in the Supreme Court for engaging in terrorist activities.

The TID said five out of ten LTTE suspects, who have been arrested for involvement in terrorist activities and in remand custody, will be indicted in the Supreme Court. (Colombo page)

2016 Budget second reading passed
The second reading of the 2016 Budget was passed in Parliament today with a majority of 107 votes. A total of 159 members voted in favour while 52 voted against.

Meanwhile 13 MPs including former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thero were absent during the vote on the second reading. (Ada Derana)

Who shoots whom in Parliament?
We are the guinea pig generation! Carried the insignia on the back of the executive through pride and shame. Power shifts to the legislature and an assassin take shots at it? Legislature must be saved –It is a national treasure, last bastion of democracy. Executive is beheaded:

Judiciary is being deprecated. Are we in for another hybrid as the tripod of governance is being dismantled? (Daily Mirror)

Packer, Leonne figure in budget debate
Kandy District MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage has queried the government whether Indian porn star Sunny Leonne was to visit Colombo later this year.

Former Sports Minister Aluthgamage was reacting to Parliamentary Reforms and Media Minister Gayantha Karunatilleke alleging that since the conclusion of the war in May 2009, the previous government had been able to attract Australian casino king James Packer and some prostitutes from an Eastern European country. (The Island)

Sri Lanka to launch special court to probe war crimes
Sri Lanka will launch a special war crimes court early next year to investigate major atrocities during the bloody finale to its decades-long ethnic war, a top official said Tuesday

Former president Chandrika Kumaratunga, who heads the office of national unity and reconciliation, said her work cannot be done without justice for victims of the 37-year conflict that ended in May 2009. (Yahoo News)

Navy arrests 10 local fishermen engaged in illegal fishing
Sri Lanka Navy has arrested 10 local people for allegedly engaged in illegal fishing practices.

The Navy said its personnel attached to Naval Deployment Batticaloa of the Eastern Naval Command with the assistance of the Fisheries Inspector (Batticaloa) arrested the 10 persons Saturday (28) in the general area Punnaikudah in Batticaloa. (Colombo Page)

Ravi misleads people, says Gammanpila
The government has allocated the lowest-ever share of GDP to education sector through the Budget 2016, Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) Secretary Udaya Gammanpila said.

The Parliamentarian made the observation at a press conference held in Colombo this afternoon (30). (Ada Derana)

Dead bodies continue to float
Two male corpse were discovered in two separate places in Colombo, yesterday (30), the Police Media Unit informed Ceylon Today.

The Police also added that the first victim was discovered in the Beira Lake, behind Roy Inn, in the Slave Island Police Division. (CEYLON TODAY)

India offers military assistance to modernize Sri Lanka Army
India on Monday offered military assistance and training to modernize Sri Lanka Army in order to meet with different types of security threats.

Chief of the Indian Army, General Dalbir Singh during a meeting with his Sri Lankan counterpart, Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva at the Army Headquarters on Monday has highlighted the importance of modernizing the Sri Lanka Army to suit international standards to be geared to meet with different types of emerging threats, including cyber-attacks, etc. (Colombo Page)

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