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Sri Lanka's next stock rally could be driven on oil hopes: analyst

July 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka's next stock rally could be driven by the discovery of a commercially viable deposit of oil, which will renew interest in the country, an analyst who correctly called the end of the last stock bubble has said. Amal Sanderatne, head of Frontier Research, a consultancy said the last stock bubble which sent Sri Lanka's benchmark index careening over 7,000 points was driven by post-war hopes. Foreign capital also flowed into govt securities markets, more..

Eran calls for restoration of independence, dignity of Judiciary

July 20 (Island) Parliamentarian Eran Wickramaratne called on the Parliament and the civil society to strengthen the independence and restore the dignity of the Judiciary. Addressing the Rotary Club of Colombo Mid Town, He said that diminishing respect for the Rule of Law diminishes all. "Such erosion has led to impunity. In a society where a person, (Julampitiya Amare) had not been arrested despite repeated warrants, an erosion of confidence in the police had set in. more..

PC elections on September 8

July 20 (CT) A total number of 3,073 candidates from recognized political parties and independent groups will be contesting the forthcoming Provincial Council polls in the North-Central, Eastern and Sabaragamuwa Provinces. The acceptance of the nominations ended without any interruptions or problems with the enthusiastic participation of candidates at 12 noon at the three Provinces yesterday, according to the Commissioner of Elections, Mahinda Deshapriya. more..

Vehicle loans, Laptops for journalists

July 20 (DN) Arrangements will be made within the next two weeks to formulate a suitable strategy to grant vehicle loans and provide Laptops for qualified journalists, Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. Addressing the weekly Cabinet press briefing yesterday he said the ministry has already received 1,500 applications from journalists to obtain the vehicle loan of Rs. 1.2 million. The loan will be granted to the highest possible number of qualified journalists. The laptops will be distributed among journalists soon. more..

SLMC’s double standards exposed - ACMC

July 20 (Island) All Ceylon Muslim Congress (ACMC) General Secretary Y.L.S. Hameed yesterday said that the double standards of the SLMC had been exposed once again. "The Council of Muslim organizations (CMO) and the All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulama’s (ACJU) called upon the three main Muslim political Parties to urge them to come together to contest the upcoming PC polls as an alliance as a show of unity among the Muslims in the East and ensure a Muslim Chief Minister, the SLMC has opted to it alone paying no heed to the interests of the Muslim community more..

Lankan contingent leaves for London on Tuesday

July 20 (DN) Sri Lanka contingent for the 2012 Olympic Games will leave for London on Tuesday. Led by national men’s badminton champion Niluka Karunaratne who will join his team in London, Sri Lanka contingent includes four competitors who have directly qualified to compete at the XXXth Olympiad. Marathon runner Anuradha Indrajith Cooray is the senior most member of the Sri Lanka contingent, having competed at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. more..

Ranil has exposed his dictatorial tendencies - reformists

July 20 (Island) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had demonstrated his dictatorial tendencies by extending his tenure as the party head from one year to six years by manipulating the party’s Working Committee, Secretary of the Movement for the Protection of the UNP and its Trade Unions Lal Perera said yesterday. Perera said the party had to be given an opportunity to either re-elect or reject its leader every year but the proposal adopted by the Working Committee would enable more..

Diaspora hand in human smuggling targetting UNHRC sessions

July 20 (DN) It has now become obvious that the illegal transportation of groups of Sri Lankan people to Australia by sea is a well organized 'operation' launched by a certain interested party/parties.Information on this issue had already been received. It is possible that the Diaspora or any other group/groups could be behind the human smuggling targetting the next UNHRC sessions in Geneva in September, Cabinet Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said. more..

Wide consensus in favour of death penalty

July 20 (DN) Following lengthy debate and lobbying of ideas, the public, Cabinet and Members of Parliament have reached a common belief that the death penalty should be implemented for child molesters and drug lords. The death penalty has been in existence in Sri Lanka for a long time but the Executive had not signed the death warrant since 1977. Now interviews are going on to recruit hang men and the salaries of hangmen are being discussed. more..

UPFA launches polls campaign today

July 20 (Island) The UPFA will launch its polls propaganda campaign in three Provinces – Sabaragamuwa, North-Central and Eastern – today. SLFP General Secretary Minister Maithreepala Sirisena told a media conference, at the Mahaweli Centre, that the UPFA campaign would be launched at the grassroots level of all districts in the three provinces. He said that the UPFA had kept open the posts of the Chief Ministers. "Topping the preferential votes list is not a qualification to become the Chief Minister," Sirisena said. more..

UNP assures victory

July 20 (CT) The UNP assured victory in the three Provincial Council Elections, after submitting nominations for seven districts yesterday. Opposition Leader, Ranil Wickremasinghe said, “We don’t see a point in holding elections in the three other provinces when there is an urgent need for the Northern Provincial Council Election.” He also said the govt is earning the wrath of the people in the North, by postponing the election there. “Their scheduled date for the election is causing disruption among the people. It is unfair for the people of the North-Central Province, more..

Frederica admits meeting President thrice but denies seeking favours

July 20 (Island) Responding to Minister Keheliya Rambukwelle’s allegations, The Sunday Leader editor, Frederica Jansz says that she has never sought any favours from any govt, though she has met President Rajapaksa thrice. Commenting on a meeting she had with President in the company of former Airport and Aviation Chairman Gamini Abeyratne, Frederica said that she had not asked for any favours from the President. more..

JVP calls for compensation for drought-stricken farmers

July 20 (Island) The JVP yesterday called upon the govt to compensate the farmers who had lost their crop due to the prevailing drought and to write off loans they had drawn for cultivation in the Yala season. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, making a special statement in Parliament, said that thousands of farmers in the Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Kurunegala Districts had been affected by the protracted drought. Around 31,500 hectares of paddy, cultivated under the more..

No question of SF, Arjuna joining UNP just yet

July 20 (Island) DNA MP Arjuna Ranatunga yesterday said that the question of General Sarath Fonseka or him joining the UNP did not arise at the amount. Speaking to The Island Ranatunga said that their first priority was to topple the corrupt UPFA government by forming a common Opposition platform. He said that the DNA had not taken a decision to join the UNP, but would form a common Opposition to end corruption and restore the rule of law in the country. more..

Sri Lanka owes $15 bln on foreign borrowings since 1997

July 20 (Reuters) Sri Lanka will have to repay more than $15 billion to foreign lenders such as China and the ADB from which it has borrowed over the past 15 years, a document submitted to parliament showed. Sri Lanka owes China a total $4.9 billion including interest payments in respect of loans worth $2.96 billion obtained since 1997, while it must repay $4.64 billion to the ADB after borrowing $3.35 billion more..

Chief Whips whip out at each other

July 20 (CT) Both govt and Opposition Chief Whips were engaged in a heated argument yesterday, over calling for a quorum three times on Wednesday, following a govt MP demanding the Deputy Speaker to expel the UNP MP who maintained that Parliament should be set ablaze. Chief Govt Whip, Minister Dinesh Gunawadena brought it to the notice of the Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody, that UNP members got the chair to ring the bell calling for a quorum three times to ridicule the Parliament. more..

SLMC back in UPFA after polls - Keheliya

July 20 (DN) SLMC will join the UPFA after winning the Eastern Provincial Council. In the past, on many occasions the UPFA allowed many political parties to contest alone keeping their own identities and this is not the first time it has happened. It depends on the uniqueness and requirements of relevant areas, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. According to him, President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s blessings are always with his party, the SLFP and not with any other political parties, but it does not mean that all political parties cannot work together. more..

Ranil invites SF to join UNP direct

July 20 (Island) The UNP Working Committee yesterday adopted proposals to elect the party leader once in six years instead of annually. Deputy and Assistant Leaders and National Organiser are to be chosen by a two-thirds majority. Informed sources said that the proposals, submitted by Tilak Marapana, had been seconded by John Ameratunga and adopted unanimously. They have to be approved by the party convention due later this year to take effect. more..

Compensation for farmers

July 20 (Island) Plans were afoot to compensate farmers whose crops were affected by the droughts in last year and early this year, sources in the Agricultural Ministry said. "The ministry had allocated Rs. 250 million to provide seed to the farmers free of charge for both paddy and other crops," Additional Secretary to the ministry, S. Emitiyagoda said. The authorities are in the process of obtaining information about the affected farmers through District Secretariats. more..

Sri Lanka Mirror case put off

July 20 (SM) The court case pertaining to the Sri Lanka Mirror and Sri Lanka X News websites has been put off until July 23. The postponement came in view of a strike by lawyers to protest an attack on the Mannar courts complex a few days ago. Written submissions were to be made at today’s hearing. Sri Lanka Mirror editor Kelum Shivantha, photographer Ajith Seneviratne, journalists Shiranthi Manawadu, Himashi Karunaratne, Tharindu Rajapakse, marketing manager Asanka Nimantha along more..

'Dambulla is below par'

July 20 (DM) All day-night international cricket matches played at Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium had been conducted under conditions that were appallingly below ICC recommended ideal standards, divulged SLC Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga. The stadium, one of the biggest international venues of the country will not be used for the forthcoming ODI and T20 Series against India and has not hosted an international fixture for two years. more..

'Gotabhaya prevented Frederica from obtaining diplomatic post'

July 20 (Island) The govt yesterday alleged that the Sunday Leader editor Frederica Jansz was critical of Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa since he had prevented her from obtaining a diplomatic posting abroad, through the good offices of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He said that Frederica had met President Rajapaksa at Temple Trees recently, in the company of Gamini Abeyratne alias Taxi Abey and more..

'Expect rupee to strengthen in coming months'

July 20 (WSJ) The Sri Lankan rupee is likely to strengthen toward the end of the year as import volumes cool after months of depreciation, central bank governor said. In a telephone interview, Ajith Nivard Cabraal also tipped economic growth to pick up from next year, and expressed hopes that more Sri Lankan companies would follow the sovereign's lead and tap the international bond markets for funding. more..

Now, Mervyn wants to help solve dons’ problems

July 20 (Island) Minister Mervyn Silva has offered to step in to help solve the university crisis and problems dons are faced with. President of the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said that Minister Mervyn Silva had phoned him yesterday morning expressing his desire to meet FUTA members at a meeting. more..

Illegal textile trade ripping through local garments

July 20 (ST) Illegal textile trading in the Eastern province is taking its toll on the legitimate textile trade of local businesses. Tamil and Muslim textile dealers in Batticaloa said that their businesses and income have been seriously affected by Indians who smuggle in garments and clothing items. The businesspeople said they were helpless and that the Govt should do something about the problem. more..

UCG Chief faces contempt charge

July 20 (Island) The Chairman of the UGC Prof. Gamini Samaranayake was yesterday directed by the Supreme Court to present himself before Court on monday to show cause as to why contempt proceedings should not be instituted against him for not taking any effective and meaningful steps to release the Z-scores of candidates who sat the GCE A/L exam in August 2011, in compliance with the Supreme Court judgment dated June 29, 2012, without any delay. more..

Ranil queries legality of ballot papers

July 20 (Island) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe questioned in Parliament the legality of ballot papers being printed, for the forthcoming elections, at the Govt Press without a Govt Printer. The vacancy for the post of govt Printer had not been filled, the Opposition Leader said, pointing out that legality of all public documents, including birth certificates and judicial documents, issued while more..

Australia destroys Sri Lankan asylum boat

July 20 (CG) The Australian Navy burned on Thursday two asylum boats used to ferry 51 passengers from Sri Lanka and 65 from Indonesia. The torching rite, witnessed by The Advertiser, was held 20 nautical miles of Christmas Island which is often the port of destination of the asylum vessels. The burning was done as another boat with 25 illegal migrants from Sri Lanka arrived on the island Thursday morning and the Sri Lankan Navy intercepted on more..

Palmyrah Research Institute begins operations in Jaffna

July 20 (DN) The Palmyrah Research Institute in Kaithady, Jaffna will start operations as an essential part of Northern Province development today. Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa will open the state- of- the-art palmyrah research facility at the invitation of Minister Douglas Devananda. The facility became defunct in 1995 as a result of the conflict in the Northern Province. more..

Courts close in protest

July 20 (CG) Work at almost all the courts around the country came to a standstill today in protest over allegations that govt Minister Rishard Badhudeen had threatened a judge in Mannar. Legal proceedings scheduled for today were postponed and people who had court cases to be heard today had been turned back when they went to court. The Judges Association of Sri Lanka (JASL) had yesterday said it will file legal action on the Minister while the Bar Association of more..

Editorial: We need honest law makers not law- breakers

July 20 (DM) With the rule of law breaking down and the crime wave increasing with an alarming number of rape cases involving children, the Government needs to go to the roots of this crisis and take effective and urgent action. Not only are moral values decaying, some speakers at the recent economic forum in Colombo also warn that sustainable economic development was not possible unless the rule of law was restored because only then would big-time more..

Sri Lanka stocks flat, rupee stronger

July 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka's stocks closed flat Friday, losing some of the gains made a day earlier while the rupee gained sharply against the US dollar, brokers and dealers said. Representatives of Sri Lanka's stock market met President Mahinda Rajapaksa Friday. The presidential secretariat said market representatives made proposals for an upcoming budget at the meeting where deputy finance minister Geethanjana Gunawardene, legislator Sajin Vass Gunewardene, more..

Shocking selections for World T20

July 20 (DM) An unknown schoolboy off spinner called Akila Dhananjaya who failed to make it into the Sri Lanka Under 19 for the forthcoming Under 19 World Cup or the Sri Lanka A Team has stunningly been called up for the Sri Lanka’s 30-man preliminary squad for the ICC World T20 to be held in Sri Lanka in two-months’ time. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) held a Single wicket tournament recently with the specific aim of picking Sri Lanka’s best hard hitters ahead more..

Sri Lanka to build 24km road with bank credit

July 20 (LBO) A 24 kilometre road in Sri Lanka's from Maha Oya to Aralaganwila will be built under a scheme where a 500 million dollar bank credit will be used by the state road agency fund domestic contractors. Sierra Construction (Pvt) Ltd has got the contract to build the road for 2,363 million rupee contract to build the road with financing from state-run Bank of Ceylon, the state information office said. Sri Lanka's Road Development Authority gets the finance under more..

Zscores to be released soon

July 20 (CT) The separately recalculated Z-scores of the old and new A/L syllabuses will be released before 25 July, the Department of Examinations said. Following the release of bungled up A/L results last December, the Supreme Court ordered that 2011 A/L’s Z-score results of the old and new syllabuses should be annulled and then calculated separately. “The new Z-scores will be released before next Wednesday (25),” Examinations Commissioner General W.M.N.J Pushpakumara said more..

Hakeem denounces threatening of Mannar judge

July 20 (AD) Minister Rauf Hakeem today stated that as a fellow lawyer and member of the Bar Association, he strongly condemns the alleged threatening of the Mannar Magistrate by a Minister and the attack on the court complex. The Judges Association of Sri Lanka (JASL) say they will resort to legal action while the Bar Association of Sri Lanka had decided to boycott court proceedings today, after a Minister had allegedly threatened the Mannar Magistrate more..

Arrest the Minister-BASL

July 20 (DM) The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) at a meeting with the Attorney General had requested that necessary action be taken to arrest the minister and other suspects who were involved in a mob attack on the Mannar Courts complex. The BASL president Wijedasa Rajapakse PC said he met the Attorney General at his office and requested him to take necessary action to arrest those involved in the incident including a govt minister. Mr. Rajapakse said all lawyers in more..

Tourism to Sri Lanka is booming

July 20 (IANS) Sri Lanka's post-war tourism is booming. In the first half of this year, a total of 452,867 people including 85,000 from India, visited the island nation. This is an all-time high and an 18.7 per cent growth over the same period last year, Xinhua reported. The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority said the highest number of tourists - 172,602 -- in the first six months arrived from western Europe. Britain clocked the highest number of tourists at 47,975, followed by more..

No result meeting

July 20 (DM) The meeting between stock market stakeholders and President Mahinda Rajapaksa ended without any significant outcome today, as predicted by a number of independent analysts. According to informed sources, the President had given a patient hearing to all the parties and emphasized that this would be the last time he will listening to their grievances, noting that the Treasury Secretary would hereafter intervene in the case of market related malpractices. more..

India-Lanka relations robust: Indian envoy

July 20 (PTI) India-Sri Lanka relationship is extremely robust even though occasionally issues do arise, Indian envoy to the country Ashok Kantha said today. He made the remark while addressing the annual general meeting of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce on 'India Sri Lanka Trade and Economy relationship' here. Sri Lanka-India political relations appeared to have nose dived with New Delhi's support to the US-led resolution against Sri Lanka at UN human rights council in March. more..