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Mahela to sign off at the SSC

July 23 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene's swan song will be at his home ground, after SLC's Executive Committee decided to move the second Test against Pakistan from the P Sara Oval to the SSC ground. Jayawardene has been prolific at the venue, piling up 2698 Test runs at an average 77.08. Jayawardene also hit the highest score for a Sri Lankan and the highest score by a right-hander, at SSC, when he made 374 against South Africa there in 2006. He has played for SSC since more..

PMK flays 'denial' of visa to UN team

July 23 (PTI) NDA ally PMK today slammed the Centre for its reported refusal to grant visa to a UN team probing alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka, saying if it was true, it will become "dark pages" in the history of human rights. Citing reports, party founder leader S Ramadoss said Prathiba Mahanamahewa, Commissioner of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission had confirmed this besides saying that the refusal of visas was more..

An open letter to YPLF on reconciliation

July 24 (CT) I write this letter to appreciate your statement on behalf of the Young Political Leaders Forum (YPLF) in remembrance of the dreadful events of July 1983 and to mark your determination not to allow or prevent another July 83 in the future. You are quite right in calling for ‘active social engagement of youth both in Sri Lanka and within the Diaspora in the reconciliation process.’ I also appreciate your bipartisan approach on this matter. However, the main task before more..

The need to remember

July 24 (CT) In July 2008, when I was head of the Peace Secretariat, I published a volume entitled ‘Lest We Forget’, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the ethnic violence of July 1983. I had wanted the President to preside over a meeting to express regrets, but he did not think this appropriate at the time. However I had no doubt that, as a member in 1983 of the opposition that also suffered from the authoritarianism of the Jayewardene govt, he understood the enormity of what had more..

Will too many cooks spoil the soup?

July 24 (NS) The appalling state of many school canteens in the country, which came to light last week has compelled health officials to urge for a mechanism to monitor food providers to schools islandwide. The plight of several school canteens was revealed following countrywide inspections carried out by officials of the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA). Deputy Municipal Commissioner for Health Services, more..

Editorial: Flogging a brain-dead cob

July 24 (Island) Govt and the UNP locked horns in Parliament on Tuesday over a Chinese aircraft maintenance base to be set up in Trincomalee. Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe demanded that Minister G. L. Peiris explain the govt position. The UNP’s contention has been that Sri Lanka should not undertake anything that India may consider detrimental to its interests. Discounting the UNP’s claim, Prof. Peiris stressed that the project would in no way pose a threat to India. more..

The renowned and experimental take the boards

July 24 (FT) The experimental and the tried-and-true are being presented on one stage in a four-day drama extravaganza next week. Stages Theatre Group, headed by well-known dramatist Ruwanthie de Chickera, will be presenting these two plays from talented directors at the Lionel Wendt. The run starts with Daasa Mallige Bangalawa on 23 and 24 July, followed by Walking Path on 26 and 27 July. Both plays start at 7 pm. ‘Daasa Mallige Bangalawa,’ co-directed by Ruwan Malith Peiris and more..

Amendments proposed to give more teeth to Human Rights Commission

July 24 (NS) Commissioner of Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission (HRC), Dr. Prathiba Mahanamahewa states that the commission has sent a proposal to amend the current Human Rights Act in a way that it could give more powers to the HRC. Dr. Mahanamahewa stated that currently the HRC could only provide recommendations. However, he said that HRC had submitted a proposal to Justice Ministry to amend the Act. more..

War crimes issue: 'India and Sri Lanka can find an amicable solution'

July 24 (ST) India will not see any need to take the issue of alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka to an international forum if Sri Lanka properly addresses the core issues relating to the North and East, according to BJP ideologue Seshadri Chari. Commenting on a range of issues relating to Indo-Lanka relations Dr. Chari in an email interview with the ‘Sunday Times’ said India and Sri Lanka could find a solution to the ‘vexed issue’ of war crimes allegations through bilateral efforts. more..

SEC Chief calls for independent directors to take up ‘true’ role on boards

July 24 (FT) In the backdrop of some independent directors diverting from their mandated responsibilities, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chief emphasised last week that those holding such positions should stay true to their roles. “Some of the independent directors seem to have been appointed only to accommodate regulatory requirements, but their contributions at board level seem to be influenced by their appointing authorities. more..

'Conspirators are targeting Gotabhaya'

July 24 (Island) "A certain powerful force is using bhikkus to engage in acts of violence so that these very forces can then label the entire bhikku community as marauding thugs. The whole purpose of this exercise is to destroy the president. They are trying to destroy the national leader by destroying the bhikku first." Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka entered parliament in 2004 and less than two years into his tenure as a MP, more..

De Villiers likely to give up keeping

July 24 (CI) AB de Villiers has conceded long-term back issues could force him to give up wicketkeeping in Tests, as he has done in limited-overs cricket. De Villiers was unable to keep in the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle because of a hamstring niggle and though he has recovered, he is unlikely to keep in the second Test as well. "In the last game I had that hammy issue. That's sort of recovered, but my back's always been an issue," de Villiers said. more..

Slow starters break worrying trend

July 24 (CI) Distance runners are taught to treat their bodies like car engines by going easy at first and demanding more later on. In the recent past that is also how South Africa have approached Test cricket. They started series slowly - the Oval in 2012, Abu Dhabi in 2013 - and played catch-up later on. The exact causes for their marathon-style approach were never quite pinned down but Graeme Smith mentioned the time they took to adapt to different conditions and the need to shake off more..

Changing course!

July 24 (FT) The Presidential proclamation came like a bolt from the blue. For one endlessly-suspended moment, the world according to the Rajapaksa administration had turned topsy-turvy. After five years of stringent denials and rejections, zero casualty claims, military courts of inquiry and war censuses, President Rajapaksa issued a proclamation last Thursday announcing the launch of a domestic more..

House adjourned abruptly for want of quorum

July 24 (Island) Parliament sittings were suspended abruptly around 5.35 pm yesterday as there was no quorum in the House. A debate on an adjournment motion on 1980 July strikers moved by UPFA MP Shantha Bandara was in progress when Minister Sumedha G. Jayasena got up to participate in the debate. UNP MP Gayantha Karunathilake pointed out that there was no quorum in the House. Presiding member UPFA MP Mohan de Silva rang the quorum bell thrice but could summon only more..

Touchwood Chief summoned after Liquidator complaint

July 24 (FT) Upon an application made by the liquidator to Court, stating the difficulties faced in proceeding with the liquidation due to the uncooperative nature of the representatives of Touchwood Investments Plc, the Judge of the Commercial High Court has ordered to issue notice on CEO L.W. Kiwlegedara to be present in Court on 31 July when the case is called next. Soon after Sudath Kumar of Nanayakkara & Company was appointed by Court to proceed with the more..

BOC pioneers Rupee Currency Option in SL

July 24 (FT) Bank of Ceylon (BOC) yesterday reinforced its leadership by introducing the country’s first structured product with the launch of Sri Lankan Rupee Currency Option. The custom-made, in-house developed, structured derivative solution was formulated for the bank’s long-standing client Sierra Cables. With Sierra Cables wanting to hedge its foreign exchange exposure against volatile market conditions, BOC constructed more..

GSK – Novartis deal to benefit Sri Lanka

July 24 (CT) A major three-part global transaction between GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Novartis AG will generate benefits for consumers in Sri Lanka, particularly in the sphere of vaccines, GSK Pharmaceuticals Sri Lanka said this week, GSK said in a statement. GSK's position as the leading provider of vaccines to the domestic private market, to which it supplies vaccines that prevent 14 infectious diseases, will be consolidated further with the strengthening of its vaccine portfolio more..

Sri Lanka A beats Ireland in the first ODI

July 24 (CI) Stuart Poynter scored a fighting century to rejuvenate a sinking Ireland chase but his innings couldn't quite take his team over the finish line, as Sri Lanka A wrapped up a 28-run win in the first unofficial ODI in Belfast. Chasing 284, Ireland were 107 for 7 when Eddie Richardson, who had taken a five-wicket haul in the visitors' innings, retired hurt. Craig Young then added 81 with Poynter before he became medium-pacer Dushmantha Chameera's fourth victim. more..

SL seek turnaround on sleepy SSC pitch

July 24 (CI) Things that have been more lively than the SSC Test pitches in recent years: the planet Mars, the SLPL's twitter account and the third floor of London's Langham Hotel in the dead of night. The last three Tests there have been draws. But with Sri Lanka requiring a win there to level the series, perhaps the ground-staff have produced a surface more akin to what first-class teams regularly encounter at SSC. more..

GMOA finds fault with Prof. Ranjini for comments made to press

July 24 (Island) Media Sub Committee of the GMOA warned they would take legal action against Prof. Ranjini Gamage for allegedly making derogatory comments against former GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya and the Executive Committee Members in the media. Media Sub Committee member, Dr. Chandika Epitakaduwa said that Consultant Neurologist being in govt service had no right to issue comments to the media – even though she held several govt positions. more..

Govt’s program to uplift local industries will not be changed at any cost - President

July 24 (DN) President Rajapaksa says the country has achieved several economic victories due to the correct policies implemented by the government to uplift the local industries. He stresses that this program will not be changed at any cost. President pointed out how the local economy was destroyed by changing these policies in the past. He made these remarks at a special meeting held at the Presidential Secretariat with small and medium scale women entrepreneurs on more..

'Sri Lanka builds up forex reserves with stable currency'

July 24 (Reuters) Sri Lanka is building up its foreign exchange reserves while keeping its rupee currency stable as the island nation seeing more dollar inflows, Finance Secretary P.B. Jayasundera said. Central bank has absorbed more than $750 million so far this year due to a rise in inflows from exports, tourism and remittances and has said the local currency would have gained to 125 rupees against the U.S. currency had it not done so. more..

CWC asks for four slots to contest under UPFA

July 24 (Island) The Leader of the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) and Deputy Minister Mutthu Sivalingam claimed that his party had a large voter base in the Uva Province, especially amongst the plantation workers in the Badulla District. Therefore, the CWC had requested four slots from the govt, if it was contest the election on the UFPA ticket. He said that the CWC had commenced holding meetings at grassroots level presided over by party electoral organisers and more..

JVP raises plight of unpaid pensioners in parliament

July 24 (Island) A large number of pensioners including 15,000 former security force members were facing severe hardships as they had not been paid their pensions and pension gratuity payments for one and half years, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake told Parliament. MP Dissanayake making a special statement said that the situation had taken a worse turn following the issuance of a circular No 06/2014 dated June 23, 2014 by the Director General of Pensions Department. more..

Ranil raps Govt. for misleading Parliament on NGOs

July 24 (FT) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe rapped the Govt for misleading the House by providing false information on NGOs in the absence of a legal framework for intelligence services role. Raising a series of issues under Section 23 (2) of the Standing Orders, Wickremesinghe wanted the Govt to identify the intelligence service which raised the alarm over alleged unfavourable NGO activities. more..

Court issues probate of Dr. Gamani Corea’s estate to Suganthie Kadirgamar

July 24 (FT) District Court of Colombo has recently issued probate to Suganthie Kadirgamar in respect of the estate of the late Dr. Gamani Corea, well- known economist, one time Secretary-General of the UNCTAD and Under-Secretary-General of the UN. Avindra Rodrigo appeared with Nimesha de Silva on the instructions of Ananda Tikiriratne, on behalf of Kadirgamar. The probate was issued on 7 July. Kadirgamar was previously issued Temporary Letters of Administration as more..

Mighty hullabaloo over Minister Jayaratne’s contradictory reply

July 24 (Island) A mighty hullabaloo was witnessed in Parliament yesterday as Civil Aviation Minister Piyankara Jayaratne presented contradictory figures on visits of aircraft to the Mattala International Airport. Responding to a question raised by UNP National List MP Dr. Harsha de Silva, the Minister said that no flights of Mihin Lanka or Fly Dubai airlines had visited the Mattala Mahinda Rajapaksa International airport during the month of May this year. more..

Moody's affirms Sri Lanka's credit rating at B1 but warns of weak govt finances

July 24 (IBT) Moody's affirmed Sri Lanka's 'B1' sovereign bond rating with the stable outlook on 23 July, citing strong growth potential, but said the weakness of govt finances overshadows the rating. A sustained decline in its deficit, debt and borrowing costs would be seen as credit positive, Moody's said. Sri Lanka's real GDP growth is likely to remain in the 6.5-7.0% range over the medium term, supported by infrastructure investment, more..

Sudarshani calls for urgent action to tackle drug menace

July 24 (Island) An upsurge in drug trafficking was fueling the potential for greater drug abuse among Sri Lankan youth, UPFA Gamapaha District MP, Dr. Mrs. Sudarshani Fernandopulle warned yesterday. She told The Island that though the drug business couldn’t be totally eradicated from the country, the police should, at least, contain it forthwith. Dr. Fernandopulle also said parental monitoring and supervision were critical for prevention of drug abuse. more..

Walk the talk: Police ask Hirunika to disclose Kolonnawa drug barons’ names

July 24 (Island) Police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana yesterday, in response to the UPFA Western Provincial Councillor Hirunika Premachandra’s claim that she knew the drug barons in Kolonnawa, asked her to disclose their names and addresses. If she could do so, the police would nab them forthwith, the SSP said. She has also said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa and IGP N. K. Illangakoon should take action against spread of drugs.

Govt. thwarts Karu’s bid to throttle Casino projects

July 24 (FT) A private member bill to amend the Strategic Development Projects Act No. 14 of 2008 presented by opposition lawmaker Karu Jayasuriya was rejected by the Govt yesterday. The bill was aimed at preventing the Parliament from approving any project which would include the operation of casinos and other gaming activities by whatever name or description or the leasing out of space for such activities. more..

Thirimanne to lead Sri Lanka at Asiad

July 24 (IANS) Left-handed batsman Lahiru Thirimanne will skipper the Sri Lanka cricket team at the Asian Games to be held at Incheon from Sept 19 to Oct 4. The National Selection Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) named a 15-member squad for the 17th Asiad with Thirimanne as the captain and another southpaw Upul Tharanga as vice-captain. This is the second time that cricket has been included as a discipline at the Asian Games with the last one being four years ago at Guangzhou, more..

Speaker asks Rosy to stay close to him

July 24 (DM) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa yesterday advised UNP MP Rosy Senanayake to stay close to him as otherwise she would disturb the proceedings in the House by chatting to others. The Speaker said this when he noticed Ms. Senanayake chatting to her colleagues Sujeewa Senasinghe and Harsha de Silva. “It is better for you stay near me. Otherwise, you will waste time chatting with others,” he said. The trio had quietened down when they heard the Speaker’s remarks.

Proposed aircraft maintenance facility will be handled entirely by Sri Lankans – MoD

July 24 (Island) Govt had proposed the construction of an aircraft maintenance facility in Trincomalee with the assistance of the Chinese govt, but it would be completely handled by the Sri Lanka Air Force personnel, Military Spokesman Brig. Ruwan Wanigasooriya said. The major objective of the proposed facility was to carry out maintenance work on Chinese built aircraft used by the Sri Lanka Air Force locally. more..

Sri Lanka will learn from Pak on trawlers, hopes Indian govt

July 24 (HT) Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s goodwill gesture of returning 57 boats of Indian fishermen at PM Narendra Modi’s request has raised hopes that Colombo too may soon be persuaded. Pakistan and Sri Lanka have always refused to return boats of fishermen arrested for crossing over to their side, with Pakistan arguing that losing boats was a deterrent for the Gujarati fishermen lured by hopes of a bigger catch on the Pakistani side. more..

Minister Champika’s Facebook page disabled

July 24 (DM) The Facebook account and fan page of Minister Champika Ranawaka has been disabled without notice by the Facebook Administration Committee, according to the minister. The minister said that he had taken the matter up with the committee via e-mail. It had informed him that they would explain their reasons for disabling his account in due course. “There are about 21,000 fans who express various opinions on my official Facebook page,” the minister said. more..

Ministers in drug trade: JHU questions CID

July 24 (CT) Leader of the JHU, Ven. Dr. Omalpe Sobitha Thera, asked why the CID and intelligence services were not investigating allegations that MPs and Ministers were connected to the drug trade. He added that though large consignments of narcotic opiates coming in from Pakistan, were being seized, only two-bit hustlers were arrested, while kingpins and masterminds of operation, who are politicians, remain free. more..

Urgent need to police the police

July 24 (DM) While the Armed Services are maintained mainly for national security, the Police Service is for the security and safety of civilians or the ordinary people for whom the police station needs to be a refuge where they could find a solution to a crisis or problem. On the basis of what has been happening during the past few years the people-friendly Police Service to a large extent is imprisoned with most people today being afraid or unwilling to go to a police station to resolve more..

From subsistence production to precarious work

July 24 (DM) Liberal economic reforms implemented in Sri Lanka since the late 1970s have facilitated the transfer of a majority of people from rural livelihoods to non-agricultural activities, mostly in the informal sector. As is well known, a majority of rural people engaged in largely subsistence-oriented farming before economic liberalization and many of them combined this with non-farm activities like handicrafts, hand-loom and wage work. The situation today is different. more..