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Heads set to roll at CPC over substandard diesel

Aug 5 (LB) Some senior officials of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) could be in ‘hot water’ as Minister Susil Premajayantha is all out to take stern action against any of its officials if they are found guilty in the substandard diesel deal. The minister cancelled the Singapore company – Vitol’s licence last Friday for supplying substandard diesel to CPC as it had resulted in nearly 200 buses, and many train engines that were running on substandard fuel grinding to a halt. more..

When Premadasa threatened to go to war with India and kill himself...

Aug 5 (Island) In July 1989, then Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa had threatened to go to war with India if it did not withdraw the IPKF by the end of that month. He issued the threat when BG Deshmukh, then Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s Special Envoy met him in Colombo on July 12 and 13 to discuss the IPKF’s withdrawal from the island. Premadasa told Deshmukh that, if India did not offer more..

SriLankan, Mihin aim to be best in Asia

Aug 5 (SO) The Govt has shown its commitment not only for the continuity but also the expansion and sustenance of SriLankan Airlines and Mihin Airlines, in achieving its national objectives as it earmarks the development of the tourism industry and the creation of a regional hub in Sri Lanka in its vision for future prosperity, Chairman SriLankan Airlines Nishantha Wickremasinghe said. Addressing media personnel in Negombo last week, he said SriLankan and Mihin operate amidst many challenges more..

Monsoons failing to make impact

Aug 5 (SL) The delayed monsoon has further lowered the water levels in the reservoirs around the country. “Currently the reservoir levels around Sri Lanka are only 22 to 23 percent. The Castlereagh and Maussakele reservoirs have received rainfall intermittently over the past few weeks, but it has not been enough to make a significant impact”, Thilaka Samaratunga, Director of Irrigation and Water Resources. said. Samaratunga added that with the low rainfall in these areas, more..

NCPA lessons for schoolchildren on protecting themselves

Aug 5 (SO) The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) last week highlighted the importance of educating schoolchildren on protecting themselves from unwanted characters, sexual harassment and various similar obstacles often faced by them. The NCPA will prepare special lessons based on these subjects and teach them in classrooms as part of the school curriculum. The program will be carried out in collaboration more..

Lonely Hambantota, lovely Pallekele

Aug 5 (CI) Hambantota and Pallekele. Two names we had heard frequently and always together in the run up to the 2011 World Cup, as the locations for the new stadiums Sri Lanka was building. Both modern facilities, with grandstands and grass banks. One close to the southern coast; one in the mountains. Both amid forests. One difficult to access, one comfortably reachable. The Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium has to be one of the remotest grounds in cricket. It takes its name from the coastal town of Hambantota, more..

Dhoni's redemption and Pathan's reflief

Aug 5 (CI) MS Dhoni had hurt his left hamstring while batting and struggled throughout with his wicketkeeping later. Lahiru Thirimanne and Jeevan Mendis had revived Sri Lanka's chase when Thirimanne guided Zaheer Khan to Dhoni's left in the 36th over. It wasn't a very difficult take but Dhoni dived clumsily, managed to get only the left glove to the ball, and dropped it. Two balls later, Thirimanne was sent back when he attempted a tight run towards mid-on. more..

The stalling saga of CPC’s fuel fiasco

Aug 5 (ST) Two weeks ago a worker at the Colombo Port operating a transfer crane detected a difference in colour in the diesel being pumped into the crane from a bowser of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC). He pointed this out to the driver of the bowser, who in turn said since the stocks were issued directly from the CPC there was nothing to worry. However, the CPC worker’s suspicion was confirmed a few hours later more..

Lanka to face tough time after seniors retirement

Aug 5 (Nation) Sanath Jayasuriya, the former Sri Lankan captain, believes that the country will struggle in international cricket at the retirement of the legendary cricketers like Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara but he is confident about the upcoming talent. The Islanders are not having a good time in international cricket since the retirement of their premier bowlers like Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas. more..

Uphill task for Lanka’s Merrill

Aug 5 (ST) The sole Lankan at the track US based Lankan Sonali Merrill will be in action tomorrow at the Olympic Stadium any time between 7 p.m. and 7.45 p.m. London time when she will be featured in the first round of the Women’s 400m hurdles event.Her best time in this is 56:83 – however a bit behind the qualifying times of 55:50 in the ‘A’ category and 56:65 in ‘B’ category. She achieved her best time of 56:83 in Japan last year. Besides her athletics she has earned a degree in more..

Cracks in Sri Lanka Cement Corporation

Aug 5 (SL) The Bank of Ceylon has suspended overdraft and other facilities to the Sri Lanka Cement Corporation due to non payment of interest and capital on a 175 million rupee loan. A land in extent of around 80 perches in Colpetty was given as collateral to the bank by the Corporation for the loan during the tenure of Kumar Welgama when he was Minister of Industries. The loan was being paid on a regular basis until this year. However, the Corporation imported more..

Armed groups in the East? -Army says ‘no’, TNA says ‘yes’

Aug 5 (NS) As the election fever heats up in the Eastern Province, reports of paramilitary groups operating have surfaced and the military vehemently denies such reports, while the TNA makes such claims. There are no armed groups in the East, as well as any paramilitary groups, stated Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya, the Sri Lanka Army Spokesperson. Only the armed forces, police, and Civil Defence Force personnel are allowed to possess firearms in the area, he stated. more..

Dayasiri on UPFA platform shortly!

Aug 5 (NS) A group of UNP MPs led by Kurunegala District MP Dayasiri Jayasekara are expected to board the UPFA provincial election campaign platform likely from Anuradhapura in the North Central Province, well informed UNP sources disclosed. President Mahinda Rajapaksa will ceremonially kick off the UPFA provincial election campaign on August 18 from Anuradhapura at the Harischandra Esplanade. Jayasekara and the UNP group who have decided to cross over more..

Govt. doctors in Central Province on strike

Aug 5 (Island) Medical services at govt hospitals in the Central Province came to a grinding halt yesterday after doctors struck work following a provincial Minister allegedly intimidating a senior medical official and assaulting a consultant. Around 2,000 doctors belonging to the GMOA in the region walked out after Central Provincial Health Minister Sunil Kithsiri Amaratunga is alleged to have intimidated the province’s Director of Health, more..

Hidden hand in substandard fuel fiasco?

Aug 5 (CT) The possibility of a hidden hand or group in the allegedly substandard fuel cannot be ruled out as all testing done here didn’t indicate any defects or inferior quality, a top official said. Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, Managing Director Susantha Silva told Ceylon Today yesterday samples were already being sent two counties and if any unknown properties were found other than the local tests then there is definitely a hidden hand. While saying that his top agenda is to make the CPC a profit generating institution, more..

IGP assures Hirunika he will look into reports that Duminda is back

Aug 5 (ST) Police Chief N.K.Illangakoon has assured Hirunika Premachandra, daughter of slain politician Bharatha Laksman Premachandra that he will look into reports that Parliamentarian Duminda Silva, wanted in connection with the killing, had returned to the country. She had raised the issue after an unusual VIP movement was witnessed at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) early Friday morning. Although Airport authorities denied any VIP movement, more..

'Drought worsens, more funds needed'

Aug 5 (ST) As an unprecedented drought hits rice and other crops countrywide, a govt minister warned yesterday that Rs. 3.7 billion allocated for relief might be inadequate. Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said more than 20,000 farmers had been affected and more than 16,000 acres of paddy lands destroyed. He said the Treasury had made available Rs. 3,765 million for relief but the drought was now affecting areas other than the North Western and North Central more..

Mystery over Lanka’s Olympic tickets worth millions

Aug 5 (ST) Sri Lanka bought tickets for the ongoing Olympic Games in London to the tune of Rs. 7 million, but who got the tickets is a mystery. The National Olympic Committee had given complimentary tickets to more than 30 people. But there were hardly any Sri Lankans on the stands, when Lankans were competing. However NOC President Hemasiri Fernando said Sri Lanka purchased tickets to the value of Rs. 7 million and had “sold” the tickets. more..

'There are no monitors in ministries'

Aug 5 (SL) The govt has appointed nearly 20 MPs as Monitors to Ministries according to research carried out by us. Some MPs have been appointed to these positions as far back as December 2010. Yet Minister Dinesh Gunawardene, addressing parliament on the 12th of August 2011 said that none had been appointed to monitor Ministries. However, contrary to his statement some monitoring ministers have been allocated office space in the relevant ministries in addition to extra security personnel. more..

Breakdown of law, people lose confidence in Police

Aug 5 (ST) Twenty-four-year-old Chandrika Kumara, a housewife, in the sleepy hamlet of Bilbewewa in the Anuradhapura District, chose to join four others on Monday night for a ride in the small trailer of a two wheel tractor to attend a funeral. Little did this mother of a four-year-old child realise it was a journey that would end in her death. Four of her companions, seriously injured, are now lying at the Anuradhapura base hospital. more..

‘Changes in political alliances, a common feature’

Aug 5 (SO) Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said that the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC’s) decision to contest alone at the forthcoming Eastern Provincial Council election would not create any obstacle to the unity or forward march of the UPFA. The SLMC and all other constituent parties of the UPFA have accepted the Mahinda Chintana as their policy document and President Mahinda Rajapaksa as their leader. Various changes can take place in an alliance within its parameters. more..

Tender corruption at Valachchenai Paper Mills

Aug 5 (NS) Serious irregularities in tender procedures with regard to sale of scrap iron at the Valachchenai Paper Mills of the National Paper Corporation Ltd have been uncovered. Sources said tender documents have been reportedly opened in private by certain officials, violating tender procedures. Tenders have been called for the sale of a number of lorry chassis, engines, tractors, generators and motors to be sold as scrap iron on July 19, 2012 and closed at 2.30 pm on more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Aug 5 (ST) Last Thursday, President Mahinda Rajapaksa invited a team of visiting British parliamentarians for a breakfast meeting. When the visitors were invited to have breakfast, one of them explained very politely as most Britons do, that he had a rather uneasy stomach. Hence, he said he would not partake in the spread on offer. Rajapaksa who spoke with him realised that Sri Lankan cuisine was too hot or spicy for many foreigners. more..

Modern cameras to record traffic accidents

Aug 5 (SO) The Police Department will import modern cameras to record photographs of vehicles involved in traffic accidents and victims who sustain grave injuries due to such accidents. The imported cameras will be given to all traffic branches of police stations throughout the country. “It has become necessary to gather evidence by using modern technology such as cameras and video tapes following the increased number of accidents on the highways.” more..

Mittal predicts consolidation of telecom operators in Sri Lanka

Aug 5 (Hindu) Consolidation of existing operators is important in Sri Lanka, Sunil Bharti Mittal, founder, chairman and group CEO of Bharti enterprises said in Colombo on Saturday. There were presently five operators for a population of 20 million. Asked if he was disappointed with Airtel’s performance in Sri Lanka, he said: “I would not say we are disappointed. We are not 1.6 million customers we came as the fifth and now we more..

Pay your bus fare with prepaid smart card

Aug 5 (ST) A prepaid smart card facility and a passenger care hot line are among the new measures the transport authorities are introducing to deal with a growing number of complaints against private bus crew or operators. Minister C.B. Ratnayake said tenders had been called for the supply of smart cards for launching the project shortly. The smart card would be like a prepaid phone card or a debit card. Each time the passenger with a smart card gets into the bus, the more..

Sri Lankan airlines to boost flight training capacity with second simulator

Aug 5 (LBO) State run Sri Lankan airlines is to take delivery of a new Dutch built A330 flight simulator early next year increasing the airline's capacity to offer flight simulator services to regional carriers, the airline said. The new flight simulator will help train more pilots in the operation of wide-bodied Airbus A330 aircraft and provide advanced flight training services to airlines in India, Maldives, Pakistan and Bangladesh. more..

Z-score report to President further delayed

Aug 5 (ST) The much-awaited report sought by President Mahinda Rajapaksa from Minister S.B. Dissanayake on the latest Z-score crisis will not be handed over to him tomorrow – a date set by the minister. Asked when it would be ready, Higher Education Ministry Secretary Sunil Jayantha Nawarathna said it would be given to the President “soon”. The report is set to include details about those GCE A/L students whose Z-score marks were reduced under a revised scheme more..

CEB to charge for street lights

Aug 5 (SL) The Ceylon Electricity Board is planning on imposing a fee on the public for the use of streetlights, according to the Minister Champika Ranawaka. He said that the Ministry was putting forth this plan as they had found that over 0.25 gigawatts of electricity is spent on the streetlights. “We have set a target of reducing energy consumption in the country by 1.5 gigawatts a day. The reduction in streetlights is one way we could ensure we meet this target”, more..

Suspect diesel mixed in shore tank says supplier

Aug 5 (Island) The supplier of the suspect diesel shipment to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), the Vitol Group of Companies yesterday 'strongly' refuted suggestions that it is in any way responsible for reported incidents of damage to vehicles and machinery saying the diesel it supplied was pumped into a tank already containing stock from another supplier. "The cargo in question was tested in accordance with more..

No Foreign monitors for Sri Lanka PC polls

Aug 5 (Island) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya expressed the view that there is no necessity to invite foreign observers to monitor the PC poll campaign in the Eastern Province, as requested by the TNA and UNP. In case a necessity arises during the final stages of the campaign, he could get down observers from SAARC countries. The Commissioner was addressing political party secretaries met him for a second round of talks at his invitation at the Elections Secretariat on Friday. more..

Navi Pillay team coming; Govt. changes policy

Aug 5 (ST) Experts from the UNHRC will arrive in Colombo next month to “offer advice and technical assistance” to the Govt towards implementing the US-backed resolution on Sri Lanka. In what seems a change of heart, the Govt has responded to a letter from UN Human Rights High Commissioner Navanethem Pillay, that it would receive the expert delegation. Earlier, as revealed in the Sunday Times of May 27, the govt was poised to reject the move. more..

Tough action required from Australia to deter boat people

Aug 5 (SO) Despite the increasing number of boats heading to Australia being intercepted and arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy in the past several weeks, an international terrorism expert says, unless the Australian government takes tougher action to discourage the current trend, the battle with the boat people will never end. Prof. Rohan Gunaratna, Head of International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at Nanyang Technological University, more..

New air taxi service soon

Aug 5 (NS) Saffron Aviation (Pvt) Ltd, a joint venture between John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH), MMBL Leisure Holdings and Phoenix Ventures Limited, signed an agreement with the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka last week, to establish a domestic air taxi service in Sri Lanka with an initial investment of US$ 6.8Mn out of a total planned investment of US$ 8.4Mn. The start-up fleet will consist of two Cessna 208 Caravan Amphibian aircraft (seating 9 passengers each) and more..

Poultry farmers hit by severe drought

Aug 5 (ST) The ongoing drought that has parched several parts of the country has placed many poultry farmers in a difficult situation forcing them to opt for early culling of the birds in a bid to ward off heavy losses, the industry and officials said yesterday. Many farmers in the poultry breeding regions, particular in the Kurunegala and Kuliyapitiya areas have begun slaughtering birds, some in the early stages of laying, for lack of water more..

SME tax reductions will boost growth

Aug 5 (SO) Tax reduction for SMEs and tax exemptions for targeted sectors are most welcome, said Tax Consultant and Partner Gajma and Co, N.R. Gajendran. “Yet it is mind boggling how blanket exemptions can be given for strategic projects for a long period of time - 25 years, which itself, may exceed the life span of some of these projects. This has challenged revenue,” he said. From a tax policy perspective, we have consciously reduced the rates of tax, focused on SMEs and more..

SL Army refutes HRW allegations

Aug 5 (SL) The army has refuted accusations by Human Rights Watch (HRW) that they were not doing enough to investigate the alleged atrocities committed during the war. Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya said that the army was following the army act when it appointed an internal inquiry in to these allegations. “I do not know what exactly HRW has said, but there is nothing wrong with what we are doing. According to the army act there is provision for such an to be carried out more..

Mannar Bishop denied visit to Mahara Prison

Aug 5 (Island) UNP MP Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena has complained to Prisons chief, P.W. Kodippili that Mannar Bishop, Rt. Rev. Dr Rayappu Joseph was denied entry to the Mahara prison to visit remand prisoners transferred from Vavuniya. In a letter to the Commissioner-General of Prisons, the MP says he was informed by the Bishop that he would like to visit the Mahara prison. "I was made to understand that among the prisoners transferred from Vavuniya were more..

Postal hostel keys returned following polls compaint

Aug 5 (Island) The Assistant Commissioner of Elections (Batticaloa District) Asanga Ratnayake yesterday said that on the direction of Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya he had personally ensured that the OIC Eravur Police, CI Kanchana Godakumbura, handed over the keys of the Postal Hostel to the representative of the Deputy Post Master General (DPMG) of Batticaloa on Friday. He rejected the allegation of the Executive Director of CAFFE, Keerthi Tennakoon, that more..

Sri Lanka fined for slow over-rate in fifth ODI

Aug 5 (PTI) Sri Lanka have been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during its 20-run defeat against India in the fifth and final ODI in Pallekele. Chris Broad of the Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees imposed the fines after Angelo Mathews' side was ruled to be one over short of its target yesterday when time allowances were taken into consideration. In accordance with the ICC Code of Conduct, regulations governing minor over-rate offences, players are fined 10 per cent of more..