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Rs.160mn for 85 Hakeem coordinators at NWSDB: COPE

Aug 23 (DM) COPE revealed that a staggering Rs.160 million had been paid as salaries to 85 employees of the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) who were recruited as ministerial coordinating officers of Subject Minister Rauff Hakeem since 2015. It was revealed at the COPE session that 35 out of 85 coordinating officers continue to savour a monthly remuneration of Rs. 250,000 including a fuel allowance. more..

Scandalous USD 8.3 mn payment by Treasury to Aussie cow supplier revealed

Aug 23 (Island) The external resources department of the Treasury had paid Rs. 1.3 billion (USD 8.3 million) to Wellard Rural Exports Pvt. Ltd, on May 8, 2018, as an advance payment to import 15,000 milch cows though there was no money allocated in the 2018 budget, PCoI was informed. Cyril Perera, the former chief accountant at the Ministry of Rural Economic Development told the commission that more..

Kanjipani Imran sentenced to 6 years RI

Aug 23 (AD) The Colombo High Court today sentenced notorious drug kingpin Mohamed Najim Imran alias Kanjipani Imran to 6 years rigorous imprisonment for the possession and trafficking of 5.3 kg of cannabis. When the case was taken up before High Court Judge Gihan Kulatunga this morning, the accused had pleaded guilty to the charges. Accordingly the court sentenced Kanjipani Imran to six years rigorous imprisonment - more..

Sri Lanka intervenes to defend rupee

Aug 23 (EN) Sri Lanka has intervened in the forex markets to defend the rupee, CB Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said after a 50 basis point policy floor rate cut to 7%. "We have intervened in the market in the last few days," Governor Coomraswamy said. "Last three days, we think the pressure there is not aligned with the underlying fundamentals , in the wake of persistent liquidity injections at the previous policy floor. more..

Catholic opp MPs write to Prez seeking Ind. Commission to probe Easter carnage

Aug 23 (CT) Six Catholic UPFA MP, submitting a letter to President Maithripala Sirisena, urged him to set up an independent commission to probe the 21 April Easter Sunday Terror Attacks. The six MPs pointed out that though a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) has been set up by the Speaker to investigate the Easter Sunday Carnage, they have no confidence or trust in its members to conduct an impartial inquiry. more..

Nagananda, Rohan team up, form new worker bee alliance

Aug 23 (RN) Alternative presidential hopefuls Nagananda Kodituwakku and Rohan Pallewatta joined hands yesterday, vowing to defeat the mainstream political parties that have ruled the country since Independence at the upcoming prez and parliamentary elections. Their decision to work together was revealed at the official launch of a new political alliance titled the Abiman Lanka Peramuna (ALP) held in Colombo yesterday. more..

FCID probing Salley's vehicle deal and utterances

Aug 23 (CT) FCID yesterday, informed Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratna of details pertaining to former Western Province Governor Azath Salley, who had allegedly issued statements detrimental to religious reconciliation here as well as having produced fake documents to register a vehicle. Upul Jayasena, a resident of Pannipitiya had lodged a complaint, on 12 June, against Salley, with the Special Unit set up at more..

Big stink over improper disposal of clinical waste

Aug 23 (ST) Questions are being raised over the disposal of clinical waste from healthcare facilities following the recent detection that such waste has been dumped illegally and haphazardly in various parts of the country. The latest incident was reported on Friday when the authorities found a stock of clinical waste buried inside a Mahaweli Reserve at Ketanwewa in Hambantota. more..

Secretaries delaying big projects; Government wants them sacked

Aug 23 (ST) A cabinet paper is to be submitted shortly seeking an investigation on ministry secretaries who have failed to implement cabinet decisions or delayed executing the decisions. The move comes following inquiries made from the Cabinet office over delays in implementing some of the important projects which had been approved by the Cabinet over the past few years. A senior Cabinet Minister said that inquires had revealed that more..

Picking the Worst from the Worst Presidential Candidate list

Aug 23 (DM) This caption for the article may have strong disagreements, but I believe this presidential poll is just that. Run up to the presidential polls seems to rope in nonentities, though most who clamour for a strong Sinhala Buddhist president-elect believe they have the best candidate the Sinhala Buddhists could have. Those who argue we need white vans back to clean up this society of rogues and criminals and more..

Has Gota renounced his US citizenship?

Aug 23 (DM) Out of the main four possible contenders for the presidency two have already confirmed their entry into the fray. The SLPP, which can be identified as the real SLFP with a new tag considering its leadership and the membership has nominated controversial former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa as its candidate while JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake has been chosen by his party. Whatever reasons the leaders of the ruling UNP attributes to its delay in more..

World takes on an officer who’s a gentleman

Aug 23 (DM) The appointment of Shavendra Silva as the new Army Commander has brought the focus of the world’s super powers on an island which is still to recover from the mental wounds caused by a civil war which concluded in 2009. The appointment of Lieutenant Gen. Silva as the Army chief has initiated scathing attacks on the Government; the biggest player jumping on the bandwagon of those throwing criticism at Sri Lanka being the United States of America (USA). more..

2019 prez poll: Mangala holds meeting in support of Sajith

Aug 23 (Island) A civil society grouping that backed common candidate, Maithripala Sirisena, at the last prez election, in Jan 2015 will unveil today what a senior spokesman called a citizens' agenda––future path of yahapalanaya. SLFP leader Prez Sirisena is not seeking a second term against the backdrop of powerful breakaway faction styled itself as SLPP fielding wartime Def Secy Gotabaya Rajapaksa as its candidate. more..

PM unhappy over delays in finalising NDF constitution

Aug 23 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has expressed displeasure over the delays in finalising the constitution of the proposed National Democratic Front (NDF) and has asked United National Front (UNF) leaders to finalise it as soon as possible, informed sources said. Sources close to the PM said he informed the UNF leaders to finalise the constitution of the proposed alliance so that the signing of the agreement and naming of the presidential candidate could be made. more..

UNP leadership given time till Monday to call for WC meeting

Aug 23 (DM) The group of UNP MPs backing the presidential candidacy of Minister Sajith Premadasa has given the party leadership time till next Monday, to call for a meeting of the Working Committee (WC) to take a final decision on the party candidate, a Minister said. Minister Ajith P. Perera said that his group would call for a secret ballot to decide on the candidate if there were more than one nominee. He said the group supporting Mr. Premadasa would explore other avenues to contest elections more..

GMOA strike ruse to take credit for Govt’s medical education initiatives: Rajitha

Aug 23 (DN) Commenting on the strike action launched by the GMOA yesterday, Minister Rajitha Senaratne told Parliament that the GMOA had a hidden agenda in launching this strike, which was to take credit for the legalizing of the minimum standards for medical education in Sri Lanka. Minister said, “We have finalised the Gazette outlining minimum standards for medical education in this country. more..

China gifted frigate formally joins SL Navy

Aug 23 (Xinhua) SL Navy held commissioning ceremony at the Colombo port on Thursday for China-gifted frigate P625, renamed Parakramabahu. Prez Sirisena, Commander of Navy, Vice Admiral Piyal De Silva, Ambassador of China Cheng Xueyuan, Defense Attache of Chinese Embassy Xu Jianwei and SL senior military officers and govt officials attended the ceremony. Prez handed over the commissioning warrant to the captain of the frigate and later went around the vessel more..

Term of CDS Wijegunaratne, extended

Aug 23 (DM) The term of Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne has been extended till Dec 31, 2019 by Prez Sirisena with effect from today. The Admiral who was appointed as the CDS on Aug 22, 2017, was due to retire on Aug 22, 2019 on completion of his first two year tenure. He was the Commander of the Navy from July 11, 2015 to Aug 22, 2017 prior to being appointed as CDS. The CDS carries four medals for Gallantry including the Weerodhara Vibushanaya (WV). more..

Sri Lanka cuts policy rate 50bp after liquidity disruptions

Aug 23 (EN) Sri Lanka has cut its policy interest rate 50 basis points to 7% shortly after unusual volatility in the aggregate overnight balance of the banking system and a weakening of the rupee. "Although economic growth is expected to recover gradually towards its potential in the medium term, domestic and global headwinds are likely to delay this recovery," central bank said. "Therefore, it is essential that the available policy spaces more..

Presidential Media Division clarifies relations with India, Pakistan

Aug 23 (DN) The Presidential Media Division (PMD) yesterday said President Maithripala Sirisena had only stated that India and Pakistan have excellent, friendly relations with Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka’s interest is to see the growth of regional cooperation and friendship, during a meeting with the Pakistani envoy in Colombo on Tuesday. The PMD in a statement said the President did not make any other comment on the issues pertaining to India and Pakistan. more..

Over Rs 1 Billion granted to estate workers as EPF, ETF: Kiriella

Aug 23 (CT) A sum of more than one billion rupees has been granted to estate sector workers as their EPF and ETF which had been defaulted for more than two decades during the Govts of former Prez Kumaratunga and Rajapaksa, Minister Lakshman Kiriella, said. He said the money was granted during the 100-day programme of the Yahapalana govt. He added that he had submitted the Cabinet Paper and approval was granted with the assistance of the then Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake. more..

City developed more in past 4 years than in past sixty: PM

Aug 23 (DN) Colombo City has been developed to an extent over the past four years more than it has ever been in the previous six decades, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe claimed yesterday when he inaugurated a commuter boat service on the Beira Lake, Colombo. Navy operated boat service will carry 50 commuters from a jetty near Union Place to the Beira waterfront jetty in Fort in a 10-minute ride. more..

President declared open the new academic centre at PGIM

Aug 23 (PSL) Prez Sirisena declared open the newly constructed academic centre at the Postgraduate Institute of Medicine (PGIM) in Colombo today (21). PGIM is the only formal education institute which provides specialist training and board certification of medical doctors in SL. Institute was established in 1980 with the objective of producing specialists of the highest quality, competence and dedication in order to provide optimum health care to people of SL without dependency on foreign institutes. more..

Video: 16 JMI members arrested over 2 weeks

Aug 23 (AD) Based on the information received from State Intelligence Service, Ampara Police arrested another active member of the Jamathei Millathu Ibraheem (JMI). Activist is reported to have received weapons training with Zahran Hashim, the alleged ring leader behind the Easter Sunday attacks. Arrestee is a resident of Watadeniya, Gampola named Mohamed Rafaideen Ali. Accordingly, this is the 16th JMI member who was arrested by the Ampara Police within the past 2 weeks. more..

Yawning gap between Sri Lanka and Vietnam exposed by Bimal Ratnayake, opposition

Aug 23 (EN) JVP and opposition legislators launched an attack on an amendment to a governing law of state-run People's Bank allowing it to raise debt capital and increase authorized capital exposing stark differences between SL and fast-growing Vietnam. State Minister Eran Wickremeratne said the change was needed to boost the capital of People's Bank. The Auditor General had queried its inadequate capital of a billion rupees. more..

Seventh phase of Let’s Stand Together for the Country programme in Jaffna

Aug 23 (PMD) The seventh phase of the Rata Wenuwen Ekata Sitimu (Let’s Stand Together for the Country) programme will be commenced in the Jaffna district, today. The main objective of the programme is to provide swift and sustainable solutions for issues faced by the people. In accordance with the instructions and guidance of Prez Sirisena, the Prez Secretariat commenced the Programme of Rata Wenuwen Ekata Sitimu with the aim of monitoring the implementation of more..

Police feared Pradeshiya Sabha members during MR’s regime: Mujibur

Aug 23 (RN) Public servants did not have the freedom to work independently and with dignity when Mahinda Rajapaksa was in power and OICs were frightened even to summon Pradeshiya Sabha members, UNP MP Mujibur Rahman said. He said that the present Govt proved the contrary and pointed out that taking a UNP PS member to police custody for obstructing the duties of police officers is an instance where the police showed its independence under the present Govt. more..

Solicitor General withdraws her resignation: Decides against contesting prez poll

Aug 23 (Island) Solicitor General Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe would not contest the forthcoming Prez Elections, informed sources said. The Island reliably learns that the Solicitor General was very keen to contest the elections, however, it is understood that political pressure from the UNP leadership made her reverse the decision. Sources at Attorney General’s Dept, confirmed that Solicitor General had withdrawn her resignation. more..

Pathfinder Foundation in collaboration with Islamic Republic News Agency

Aug 23 (FT) The Pathfinder Foundation recently entered into a MoU with the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), official news agency of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The MoU between the two institutions would facilitate dissemination of information and making public, products and services transmitted or reported by IRNA in Sri Lanka. IRNA functions under the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and has 60 offices within SL and 30 more in other countries. more..

Tea veteran Anslem Peiris steps down from CTTA with mixed feelings

Aug 23 (ST) The outgoing Chairman of Ceylon Tea Traders Association (CTTA) Anslem Peiris stepped down last week with mixed feelings as the industry had gone through a number of issues due to the adverse actions of those in high office. Hitting hard at politicians in high office, he said that it was due to these irresponsible persons in high office that the tea industry was badly affected on a number of fronts. He made these observations delivering his speech at the 125th AGM of the CTTA more..

Poverty line falls by Rs 7 in July

Aug 23 (CT) Minimum expenditure per person per month to fulfil basic needs in July this year slipped by Rs 7 to Rs 4,849, compared to Rs 4,856 recorded during the previous month. 60% of districts remained in poverty for the 43rd consecutive month as of July this year, while 36% were above, and one was hanging on the national poverty line of Rs 4,849. 15 Districts recorded a minimum expenditure per person per month to fulfil the basic needs more..

Tea revenue grows Rs. 7.6 b in Jan-July

Aug 23 (FT) Revenue from tea exports rose by Rs. 7.6 billion in the first seven months of the year, reaching Rs. 141.4 billion, compared to Rs. 133.8 billion earned during the same period in 2018, tea brokers said. Exports for the month of July totalled 24.8 M/kgs vis-à-vis 25.2 M/kgs of July 2018, showing a decrease of 0.4 M/kgs. Packeted tea, together with tea bags have shown a gain year-on-year, whilst bulk tea shows a decrease, Forbes and Walker said in their weekly tea report. more..

Cabinet nod for national policy on industrial development

Aug 23 (FT) The Cabinet has given approval for the formulation of a national policy on industrial development, as well as to hold public consultations to develop an overarching agriculture policy. It has been identified that disincentives such as inconsistencies in the related policies, inadequacy of the required technology and the infrastructure facilities, the dearth of skilled human resources, excessive energy cost, environmental challenges associated with industries, and shortcomings more..

Govt drops JWT pitch, goes for new multi-country tourism blitz

Aug 23 (FT) Crucial yet short-term global public relations (PR) and marketing campaign to revive tourism following the Easter Sunday attacks has been abandoned due to bureaucratic concerns, and is being replaced with a multi-country promotion drive. The original emergency recovery promotional campaign, approved by Cabinet with a nearly Rs.1 billion budget, was awarded to JWT as an extended business to the broader more..

ICC Chairman starts Sri Lankan tour

Aug 23 (CT) ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar will meet several parties, including Sports Minister Harin Fernando, SLC Executive Committee and team members of SL and NZ during his 4-day official tour which commences today. This follows an invitation extended by Minister Harin Fernando for him to tour SL after the latter travelled to India to meet him. Minister mentioned that he is hoping to get ICC support to develop the Homagama Cricket Grounds to int'l standards to serve as a venue for more..

Editorial: Arrogance of power

Aug 23 (Island) There are complaints that questions MPs raise in Parliament, more often than not, go unanswered or ministers give yanne koheda malle pol (irrelevant) answers which leave the Opposition and the public none the wiser. Self-righteous leaders of the present dispensation were the bitterest critics of their predecessors, whom they raked over the coals for the criminal waste of public funds and the callous disregard for democracy and the rights of the Opposition. more..

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