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May 23, 2017 [GMT]
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PM to sign MoU with China during his visit next week
[Thursday 2017-05-11 19:00]

In the wake of signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with India, the Government is hoping to sign a similar agreement with China during Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to that country. The Cabinet yesterday endorsed the MoU to be signed with China on cooperation in the fields of urban development, transportation, power and energy and road development though no specific project is outlined in the agreement.


SL-Dutch MoU on arms storing facility in Galle
[Thursday 2017-05-11 19:00]

Sri Lanka and the Netherlands will soon finalise an agreement on facilitating latter’s deployment of personnel to protect vessels carrying its flag on Somali waters. A high ranking Navy Headquarters official told The Island that discussions had been held between the defence ministries of the two countries on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The official said the Netherlands would use the Galle navy base to store weapons and other equipment required by its personnel assigned for the protection of vessels.


Sri Lanka visit, a sign of strong relationship: PM Modi
[Thursday 2017-05-11 19:00]

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said his visit to Sri Lanka is a sign of “strong relationship” between the two countries. “I will be in Sri Lanka for a two-day visit starting today. This will be my second bilateral visit there in two years, a sign of our strong relationship,” Modi said in a Facebook post. He will be inaugurating a hospital in Sri Lanka built with Indian assistance.


SL rejects Chinese request for submarine visit: sources
[Thursday 2017-05-11 19:00]

Sri Lanka has rejected China's request to dock one of its submarines in Colombo this month, two senior government officials said on Thursday as the Indian prime minister landed in the island nation. Sri Lanka last allowed a Chinese submarine to dock in the capital of Colombo in October 2014, a move that triggered fierce opposition from its northern neighbor India, which worries about growing Chinese activity in a country it has long viewed as part of its area of influence.


18 NCP councillors support JO
[Thursday 2017-05-11 19:00]

Eighteen UPFA members in North-Central Provincial Council (NCPC) are reported to have tilted towards the joint opposition. A political crisis erupted in the council after K.H. Nandasena was removed from his ministerial portfolio and the subsequent resignation of Minister S.M. Ranjith from his portfolio in protest. The JO led by Mahinda Rajapaksa has the backing of 18 members while those loyal to President Maitripala Sirisena, the United National Party (UNP) and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) total 15. SLPP chairman G.L. Peiris said the situation was somewhat similar to what prevailed in the Southern Provincial Council in 1994. He said it was a game changer at the time.


Issues of the Tamils Will be discussed with Modi
[Wednesday 2017-05-10 18:00]

Tamil National Alliance and Opposition Leader, R. Sampanthan, says that the issues of the Tamil people should be discussed at the meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrives in Sri Lanka on 11 May to participate in the UN International Wesak celebration.


Reconciliation will only strengthen national security: CBK
[Wednesday 2017-05-10 18:00]

Presenting the recently Cabinet-approved National Reconciliation Policy to the media, former President and Chair of the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR) Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga said that reconciliation will only serve to strengthen national security rather than compromise it.


Italy seizes ship-load of tramadol for the ISIS via SL
[Wednesday 2017-05-10 18:00]

A ship load of tramadol allegedly from India on its way to be sold to ISIS fighters via Sri Lanka was seized by the Italian Police, Heat Street news website reported yesterday. Italian investigators have traced the tramadol shipment consisting 37 million tablets to an Indian pharmaceuticals company called Royal International. The company has allegedly sold the pills for US$250,000 to a Dubai-based importer. The ship had sailed from India to Sri Lanka where they disappeared from the ship’s documents.


Celebrations on Vesak Day symbolize peace, compassion, and goodwill - U.S.
[Wednesday 2017-05-10 18:00]

On behalf of the people of the United States of America, the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson offered best wishes to all those celebrating Vesak Day today. In a press release issued Tuesday, the Secretary of State said the celebrations on the Vesak day symbolize peace, compassion, and goodwill, universal values all share.


President should avoid coming to Mullaitivu on 18 May
[Wednesday 2017-05-10 18:00]

Northern Provincial Councillor M.K. Sivajilingam has said that since 18 May was day of mourning to commemorate those who died during the final phase of the civil war in 2009, President Maithripala Sirisena should avoid coming to Mullaitivu on that day. President Sirisena is scheduled to inaugurate the National Poverty Alleviation programme at the Mullaitivu District Secretariat on that day. Sivajilingam ,who was an independent candidate at the last presidential election in 2015, held a special press briefing, at the Jaffna Press Club on Sunday (7), on the proposed visit of President to Mullaitivu on 18 May.


No changes in Sri Lanka cabinet - sources
[Wednesday 2017-05-10 18:00]

There will not be any changes made to the ministerial portfolios soon, according to government sources. The unity government of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said that the rumors that amendments will be made to the cabinet were false, local media reported. Speaking to NewsRadio, Minister of Disaster Management Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said today's Cabinet meeting would be held as per usual with no specialty.


Lankan guilty of second-degree murder in Canada
[Tuesday 2017-05-09 17:00]

A jury in Canada that had been deliberating since last week found Amalan Thandapanithesigar, who came to Canada as Sri Lankan refugee, guilty of second-degree murder for having stabbed his neighbour in Côte-des-Neiges, Montreal in Canada, Montreal Gazette reported. Thandapanithesigar was originally charged with first-degree murder, but the jury found him guilty of the lesser charge late Monday afternoon.


Geetha’s MP post annulled; Parliament Sec.Gen
[Tuesday 2017-05-09 17:00]

Secretary-General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake has informed the Chairman of the Election Commission that the MP post of UPFA Galle district Parliamentarian Geetha Kumarasinghe has been annulled in line with the Court of Appeal verdict. The Court of Appeal on Wednesday (3) ruled that Ms. Kumarasinghe was disqualified to be a Member of Parliament on the basis that she holds dual citizenship


Don't change our portfolios: UNP tells MS
[Tuesday 2017-05-09 17:00]

The United National Party (UNP) has requested President Maitripala Sirisena not to reshuffle cabinet portfolios assigned to it. According to the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, it is discretionary for the President to consult the Prime Minister in the appointment of Cabinet Ministers and assignment of subjects. In this scenario the President is unable to reshuffle the Cabinet without consulting the Prime Minister who is from the UNP. Earlier, the President said he would carry out major changes in the government before Vesak.


GSP+ through special gazette notification in Brussels on May 15: Mangala
[Tuesday 2017-05-09 17:00]

The GSP plus tax concession lost by Sri Lanka during the Rajapaksa regime will be restored shortly through a special gazette notification issued in Brussels on May 15, said Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera at a meeting held in Matara on May 7. The meeting was held to thank UNP members and supporters who attended the party’s May Day rally at Campbell Park.


RTI used to seek info about parliamentarians with dual citizenship
[Tuesday 2017-05-09 17:00]

Following the Court of Appeal disqualifying UPFA MP Geetha Kumarasinghe to be a member of parliament due to her dual citizenship the Joint Opposition member Udaya Gammanpila has requested Controller of Immigration and Emigration to name all those MPs with dual citizenship. UPFA MP and Pivithuru Hela Urumaya leader Gammanpila has sought information in accordance with the Right to Information (RTI) Act adopted by ruling coalition.


Cabinet reshuffle at auspicious time
[Tuesday 2017-05-09 17:00]

The much speculated and hyped Cabinet reshuffle will take place at the auspicious time given by astrologers, most likely after the Vesak Poya Day, which falls on 10 May. The reshuffle is most likely to take place after the Vesak Poya and it would be according to the auspicious times, UPFA General Secretary and Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera told Ceylon Today last night.


TULF chief tells TNA head to control Federal Party members
[Monday 2017-05-08 16:00]

Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) Secretary General V Anandasangaree has written to Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R Sampanthan, urging him to keep Federal Party members of the TNA under his strict control. “They can’t make statements as they like, to wound the feelings of not only a country but its people as well. I do not know whether you are aware of the immense damage caused to the friendship and goodwill of India, by the thoughtless acts and utterances, more by the Federal Party members of your alliance, than by the others who only share the blame by remaining silent, ignoring the conduct of such members.


Constitutional Reforms debate likely end June
[Monday 2017-05-08 16:00]

A debate on Constitutional reforms by the Constitutional Assembly is likely to take place towards the end of June. The interim report of the Steering Committee headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will be placed before the Assembly next month, a member of the Steering Committee told the Daily News yesterday.


MR’s security detail first reduced, then restored
[Monday 2017-05-08 16:00]

In a dramatic turn of events, only hours after the government decided to reduce the security given to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa by a further 50 personnel, it was restored without an explanation being given on the about-turn. Initially, an order was sent to recall 50 personnel attached to the security detail of Mr. Rajapaksa. They had, in fact, been specifically identified. However, by late last night, the order was cancelled. Sources close to Mr. Rajapaksa said the reason for the change of heart was not known.


ADB doubles lending to SL
[Monday 2017-05-08 16:00]

As promised by Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao during his visit to Sri Lanka last year, the bank yesterday confirmed that it has doubled its lending capacity to $ 800 million this year. “Sri Lanka’s annual allocation was around $ 400 million per year and this year it has been increased to $ 800 million. We have just doubled the lending. This is the highest we have allocated to the country,” ADB South Asia Department Director General Hun Kim said at a media briefing held on the sidelines of the 50th ADB Annual Meeting in Yokohama, Japan.


MR’s youngest sister passes away
[Monday 2017-05-08 16:00]

Vichithra Rajapaksa Ranawaka, the youngest sister of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, passed away this morning due to an illness at a private hospital in Colombo. Ms. Ranawaka was a mother of two sons and a daughter. The final rites are scheduled to be held in Mirihana tomorrow.


Modi’s visit: Wasp nests in estate sector to be removed
[Monday 2017-05-08 16:00]

Ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the upcountry areas, action has been taken to remove hornets and wasps nests found in certain parts of the estates to avoid any possible attack on the visiting dignitary. The security units assigned with the provision of security to the Indian Premier had coordinated with the Hatton SPs office and obtained the assistance of the Organization for the Protection of such bees.


TNA Rift Deepens
[Sunday 2017-05-07 17:00]

A rift in the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is said to be deepening following comments being made in public by some TNA members. Sources said that some words were exchanged at a TNA Parliament group meeting last week over the leadership of the TNA being criticised in public.TNA member Suresh Premachandran has been openly critical of the stand taken by the TNA on the human rights issue. Premachandran has also supported protests in the North which have not had the backing of the TNA.


Sri Lanka only leasing oil tanks to India, PM reiterates
[Sunday 2017-05-07 17:00]

Sri Lanka will only lease out oil tanks to India under the proposed deal to jointly operate a strategic oil facility in the eastern port district of Trincomalee, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said. Addressing a gathering in the central town of Welimada yesterday, the Prime Minister said the joint working group of the two countries will formulate investment plans for the integrated development of Trincomalee, PTI reported.


Six policemen to be charged for murder of torture victim
[Sunday 2017-05-07 17:00]

Six policemen who were found guilty of torturing a suspect in custody in Chunnakam, Jaffna are to be served fresh indictments for committing murder. The policemen were sentenced to ten years imprisonment by Jaffna High Court judge M. Illenchelian having been found guilty of torturing the suspect Sri Skandarajah Sumanan. Fines of Rs.25,000 each were imposed on the convicts and they were asked to pay Rs.200,000 collectively as compensation to the family of the victim.


GSP Plus: Four votes added to Lanka’s 436
[Sunday 2017-05-07 17:00]

Sri Lanka has earned four more votes in the European Parliament against a motion to deprive it of the GSP+ concession after four Members of the European Parliament (MEP) realised they had polled wrong. A few hours after the motion was defeated on April 27, Sri Lanka’s EU Ambassador Rodney Perera made a round of calls to MEPs based on the voting sheet with the intention of double-checking their intentions. As a result, four MEPs changed their decision on account of misinterpreting the objective of the vote–that is, mistakenly thinking that by voting “positive”, they were supporting Sri Lanka.


Hambantota deal: More major changes, 70-year lease on offer
[Sunday 2017-05-07 17:00]

The number of years that the Hambantota port is to be leased out to China Merchant Port Holdings Co Ltd (CMPort) could be brought down 70, instead of 99, authoritative sources said. A draft of the heavily-negotiated concession agreement was shared with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) this week. The shareholding ratio could also be changed from 80:20 to 60:40, with sixty percent of shares allocated to CMPort and forty percent to SLPA, the sources said. And it is likely that a further twenty percent of CMPort’s shareholding will be up for sale to a Sri Lankan company within a specified time period.

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