Rush for “no questions-asked” foreign exchange deposits

Sri Lanka has been inundated with requests to open Special Deposit Accounts (SDAs) declared by the government in April with everyone from foreign monthly wage earners to high net worth individuals cashing in, in a mad rush to invest. Many bankers are hoping that this won’t be a funnel for inventive black money moguls to pump in fresh sums into the economy through these ‘no questions asked’ accounts. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in April announced that Sri Lankans or Sri Lankan expatriates could deposit funds in the special account for…

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Order to print ballot papers: Hoole perplexed

Member of the Election Commission (EC) Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole said he was unaware as to why the Government Printer had been instructed to print ballot papers. “Since there was no clear date set for the election, I feel it is a bit premature to order the printing of ballot papers. What if the nominations are cancelled and need to be recalled? There are many possibilities, so must wait and see how the Supreme Court (SC) rules,” he told The Sunday Morning. On Thursday, the media reported that Chairman of the…

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Zahran’s rationale behind Easter attacks revealed

Senior Officer of the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) revealed Zahran Hashim’s list of reasons for choosing Sri Lanka as the location of the attack, to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing the bombings that took place on Easter Sunday 2019. Some of the reasons cited, in previously unreleased video footage of the bombers, was revenge for the Christchurch mosque shooting in New Zealand in March 2019 alleged insult to the Islamic faith and in the hope the attack could inspire more Sri Lankan Muslims to gather around the Islamic State…

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General Elections 2020: A Defining Moment for Sri Lanka Friday Forum

A headline in a newspaper of May 23rd quoted the Prime Minister as having said, “President and Cabinet can efficiently manage the country without parliament” (Daily Mirror May 23, 2020). The President has stated, and has been quoted many times in the media, as saying that he will not in any circumstances re-summon the dissolved ‘old” Parliament. Both the President and the Prime Minister have indicated that they await the general elections 2020, and the summoning of the “new” Parliament. Yet most candidates contesting the forthcoming general elections 2020 are…

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STF has a major role in countering extremism and combating organised crimes – Defence Secretary

Says STF will be in high demand in countering drug mafia Says the STF has a greater responsibility in countering radicalized religious extremist groups Commends the sacrifices made by STF troops during the war against LTTE terrorism Defence Secretary Maj.Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne said the Special Task Force (STF) has a major role to play in countering extremism and organised crimes, including drug mafia. Addressing the STF troops during his maiden visit to STF headquarters since he assumed duties as the Defence Secretary, Maj. Gen. Gunaratne commended the contribution given…

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Sirisena’s 13 million rupee medical procedure who has access to free healthcare at the UK NHS.

Recently the Colombo Telegraph exposed how a Rs 700,000 personal air ticket bonanza was given to Sri Lanka’s current High Commissioner in London, courtesy tax payers by Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha. Saroja Sirisena Colombo Telegraph can now reveal that the actual financial ‘gifts’ to Saroja Sirisena from Aryasinha is in the range of at least 13 million rupees and were billed to the Lankan tax-payer in 2019. Colombo Telegraph previously exposed that On 23 August 2019 Foreign Secretary Aryasinha approved a sum of Euro 3150 (Rs 637,680 at the current exchange rate) for then Ambassador to Austria Saroja…

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Gota’s ‘One Country One Law’ Doctrine In Shambles

A six day funeral for CWC leader Arumugam Thondaman, the SLPP aligned upcountry politico has sparked outrage with thousands of people violating curfew and flouting social distancing regulations in the Hill Country and Colombo to pay respects with the police turning a blind eye to the fiasco. According to official police figures more than 65,000 people have been arrested throughout the island for violating the quarantine curfew. Scores have been arrested for failing to wear face-masks outdoors since the quarantine ended. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Government has actively propagated the doctrine “one country-one…

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Sri Lankan war criminal meets racist Buddhist monk

The head of Sri Lanka’s army, who is currently barred from travel to the US over his role in overseeing war crimes, met with a Sinhala Buddhist monk who has repeatedly spread hate speech and was caught on camera assaulting a Christian man, as he visited the Eastern Province last week. Shavendra Silva, the former head of the army’s 58 Division which is reported to have committed grave violations of international law, met with the controversial monk as part of a high level defence delegation to the East. On the trip,…

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Embassy says SL workers refuse to report to work

Responding to reports that 36 Sri Lankan workers were stranded at Bucharest Airport in Romania, the Sri Lankan envoy to Romania said the situation had arisen as most of the employees had refused to go back to their workplace. Sri Lankan Ambassador to Romania accredited from Warsaw, Poland C.A.H.M Wijeratne said the workers had refused to report to work after one of them tested positive for COVID-19. Accordingly, the embassy had intervened in the issue to ensure the company would provide necessary healthcare facilities to the workers. However, a quarrel…

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Gotha turning Eastern province to a Sinhala-Buddhist habitat ?

Has President Rajapaksa Appointed Defence Secretary Gen.Kamal Gunaratne as Head of Task Force to Implement “nationalistic” project to establish, through archaeological excavations, that the multi-ethnic Eastern province was once a Sinhala-Buddhist habitat ? By P.K.Balachandran Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s decision to entrust the survey and preservation of archaeological sites in the ethnically-mixed Eastern Province to a Presidential Task Force headed by the Defense Secretary, appears to have a political objective. Ostensibly taken at the instance of the Buddhist Advisory Council (including the Mahanayakes) the decision taken at a meeting…

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Israeli PM Netanyahu goes on corruption trial

The trial of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges has opened in Jerusalem, days after he began a new term in office. Mr Netanyahu, 70, is the first standing leader to face trial in the country’s history. He denies accusations of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Arrived at the courthouse for a brief hearing, he said the cases were aimed at  “toppling him in any way possible”. He was sworn back into office as head of a rare unity government a week ago. His political rival, Benny…

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CWC leader Arumugam Thondaman passed away

Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) leader Arumugam Thondaman passed away today. He was 55 years old. Thondaman, the Cabinet Minister of Livestock and Rural Community Development had been rushed to the Thalangama base hospital. Hospital sources said that Thondaman suffered a heart attack at his home and was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead. Earlier in the day Thondaman had met the newly appointed Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Gopal Baglay. They had discussed bilateral cooperation for community development including the ongoing Indian Housing Project in the plantation…

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“The message to army officers – and diplomats – is if you go around the world insulting and threatening the Tamil diaspora you will be rewarded,”

On the eleventh anniversary of the end of the war in Sri Lanka, the President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, intentionally promoted officers to the rank of Major General who should have been vetted and screened out of any official position, in accordance to Sri Lanka’s commitments under UN resolution 30/1 to security sector reform. “The choice of these individuals is a highly politicised one which again sends a message to Sri Lankans and the international community that even  lip service to reconciliation is off the agenda. This is yet another insult to victims and…

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Alleged Torturer Heads Sri Lankan CID: ITJP

International assistance to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Sri Lankan police must be urgently reviewed now that a well known alleged torturer has been put in charge. Senior Superintendant of Police Adambarage Ruwan Prasanna Jayak De Alwis was appointed the new Director of CID by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Friday.  Gotabaya Rajapaksa Prasanna de Alwis is named in numerous court documents in connection with torture, including the case filed by eleven Tamils in 2019 in California against Gotabaya Rajapaksa. A 13 page dossier which includes Alwis, among many others, was submitted as…

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Will Sri Lanka stay and face the attacks in a manner worthy of its war heroes, or flee from International Organizations in the Footsteps of President Trump leaving all flanks exposed?

By Tamara Kunanayakam Speaking at the National War Heroes Commemoration Ceremony on 19 May 2020, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared that he will not hesitate to withdraw Sri Lanka from any international body or organisation that continuously targets the country and war heroes. The President was probably referring to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Human Rights Council, given that they are the only international entities that Sri Lanka belongs to, which have systematically targeted the country and its armed forces. The statement has received…

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Booze shops stay open to keep state coffers replenished

The closure of the 900 liquor shops for nearly two months to help contain the coronavirus has cost the state Rs. 25 billion in excise tax. The Excise Department said that illegal operators have caused 10%, or Rs 2.5 billion, of excise tax loss to the state during this period. The revenue loss is estimated on the basis of the Rs. 130 billion plus revenue target the Government has set for the department. The department in its countrywide raids in the last six weeks has detected 3,079 instances of illicit…

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Elevated highway: Govt. accepts unsolicited proposal from Chinese company

The Government has accepted an unsolicited proposal from China Harbour Engineering Company (Ltd) for the elevated expressway from Athurugiriya to New Kelani Bridge via Rajagiriya — a project for which bid documents had already been finalised to call an open tender. The CHEC bid was directed via the Board of Investment (BOI) and discussions are underway, the Highways Ministry Secretary has told media. However, a three-volume Request for Proposals comprising at least 300 pages each was earlier drawn up with the aim of attracting prospective bidders on a level playing…

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Sri Lanka rupee strengthens to 186.40/50 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee gained to close around 186.40/50 to the US dollars in the spot market on Thursday, dealers said, amid the collapse in domestic demand from Coronavirus curfews and import controls. The rupee closed around 187.05/15 at close on May 20. Excess liquidity in money markets dropped sharply to 97.8 billion rupees on May 21 though only a 4 billion rupee term reverse repo facility was maturing. It is not clear whether a foreign loan repayment was made for liquidity to drop. The drop in liquidity came…

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War heroes and cramped camps

The Navy has been battling a rogue wave of coronavirus. Of about 1,045 Covid-19 cases, more than 578 are naval personnel. The vast majority of them are from the Welisara Navy base. It was first thought that the sailors who rounded up infected drug addicts had caused the spread of the diseases in the camp. But the members of the Army, the Air Force, the police and the Civil Defence Force have also been battling the virus from the front, and there has been no explosive spread of Covid-19 among…

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Rajapaksa warns Sri Lanka will withdraw from any int”l forum if ”Army” are targeted

Colombo, May 19 (PTI) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Tuesday warned that Sri Lanka will not hesitate to withdraw from any international forum if the country”s “war heroes” were targeted or harassed as he addressed the 11th anniversary of the end of the over three-decade long civil war against the LTTE. Tamil separatist group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which led an armed rebellion for over three decades against the Sri Lankan government to set up a separate Tamil homeland in the northern and eastern province of the island…

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