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Manifestation of broken promises

Aug 9 (ST) Promising rice from the moon was the nadir of election promises in this country. That clearly over-the-top election pledge made in 1970 to woo the voters has yet to be matched. Today’s voters need to be somewhat wary over these often broken promises, many of which still get into the manifestos of contending parties. The distrust of these manifestos is such that the ruling UNF for Good Governance (UNFGG) does not call its election manifesto a manifesto any more. more..

Better red than politically dead

Aug 9 (ST) My dear Anura Kumara sahodaraya, I thought I must write to you even though you and your rathu sahodarayas are quite busy these days campaigning for an election where you believe you will make a significant impact — or even decide who will be governing the country for the next five years. I must say many people are impressed by your performance so far in leading the rathu sahodarayas. When you took over from Somawansa sahodaraya, there were many who thought more..

'Unitary State not negotiable'

Aug 9 (CT) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa says unitary state not negotiable; will not compromise on any terms, not even for the sake of winning minority support; blames BBS for loss of Muslim support. Q: Why do you contest from Kurunegala after winning Hambantota District with a large majority of votes? A: I was invited to contest not only from Kurunegala but also from Ratnapura, A'pura, Gampaha & Galle. more..

The JVP as the UNP’s sword of Damocles

Aug 9 (Island) As the parliamentary election campaign enters its last week realisation appears to have dawned on the UNP that every vote cast for the JVP is a yahapalana vote lost to them. Last Thursday, the pro-UNP website Lanka e News carried an article with the title Vote for the JVP and ensure Rajapaksa’s victory! The article carried three telling bullet point highlights which went as follows – JVP formed an alliance with the chauvinists (Meaning Rajapaksa) once how can we say more..

MR’s campaign hit by CBK Tsunami

Aug 9 (SL) President Maithripala Sirisena, who claimed neutrality during the general election, has acted in an unpredictable manner during the past few weeks. Soon after the conclusion of nominations, Sirisena made a historical announcement where he distanced himself from the election campaign of his own political party and the candidates contesting under it. He called on the people to use their votes wisely to elect individuals to parliament who could help him continue more..

'We believe in a unitary state'

Aug 9 (CT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said, his govt will start a system of committees to monitor ministries. "They can control finances too. We demand a mandate to implement these proposals which are in our five-point policy. Ministers must consider proposals of the committees too. Committees will monitor implementation of the proposals of ministers. They can oversee that money is spent transparently. more..

MU's Port City EIA

Aug 9 (CT) Lead story of this newspaper's yesterday's edition said that the govt will undertake an extensive environmental impact assessment study (EIAS) on the suspended, Chinese funded Port City project. Quoting Deputy Solicitor General Arjuna Obeysekere, it said that this EIAS will be on the public domain. Obeysekere making submissions to the Court of Appeal on Friday said that if the public wanted the project to continue, the govt would cancel all agreements signed regarding more..

UNF plans a grand national govt

Aug 9 (SO) Wasim Thajudeen, a prominent rugby player, who is believed to have been assassinated, has begun to haunt former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s election campaign. Although Rajapaksa or his family members have not been mentioned as suspects in the case so far, fingers have already been directed at the previous regime over the murder of the rugby player. It is crystal clear that the Police, which was an emasculated body under Rajapaksa’s watch, painted a wrong picture more..

IOC responds to amended Sports Law

Aug 9 (ST) International Olympic Committee (IOC) has sent its response to the Ministry of Sports on the country’s amended Sports Regulation the Sunday Times learns. The response, according to informed sources, is not in favour of Sri Lanka sports it is said. But the Director General of Sports for the Ministry of Sports, K.D.S. Ruwanchandra stated that the IOC’s reply to Sri Lanka’s amended Sports Regulation is not as bad as it is. more..

NITF to share risks with foreign reinsurers

Aug 9 (CT) Sri Lanka's only reinsurance provider, National Insurance Trust Fund (NITF) is planning to share its risks with foreign reinsurers and will also be looking for possibilities to expand its reinsurance business in overseas markets. NITF is the only organization, State or private which offers reinsurance in Sri Lanka. There is a govt ruling and gazette notification that all primary insurance has to cede 30% of their total liability with our reinsurance division which is a compulsory cession and more..

Intellectuals call for rejection of MR

Aug 9 (Island) As a group of citizens for justice, national reconciliation, and good governance, we call upon the people to reject the Rajapaksa Alliance: 1) The election of President Maithripala Sirisena on Jan 8, 2015, and, following that, the restoration of a high degree of independence to the judiciary and the passage of the 19th Amendment constitute significant reversals of the march towards a family dictatorship that was taking place prior to Jan 8. more..

Tax authorities at a loss to enforce revenue proposals

Aug 9 (ST) Sri Lanka’s tax authorities are at a loss to enforce revenue proposals in the former administration’s 2015 budget and the revised 2015 budget presented by the current regime as many of the finance bills relating to these proposals have not been enacted in parliament. Expected revenue by implementing at least 25 revenue proposals in 2015 budget has not been raised during past 7 months and it has created cash flows problems more..

Netball World Cup: Malawi beat Sri Lanka

Aug 9 (NT) Malawi Queens on Saturday morning continued their perfect start to the Netball World Cup campaign in Sydney by beating Sri Lanka 101-18 to stay top of Pool C. It was Malawi’s new record of highest score in a major tournament. After beating South Africa in the opening tie, inspired Peace Chawinga- Kalua led Malawi Queens were in no uncompromising mood against Sri Lanka, dominating the game and reducing their opponents to amateurs. more..

Agri sector needs transformation

Aug 9 (NS) Experts have warned that the lack of diversification in agricultural exports in terms of products and destinations would make it difficult to reach the targeted US$ 50 billion exports. Professor Buddhi Marambe of the Faculty of Agriculture at University of Peradeniya speaking at a panel discussion under the theme Championing value addition in agri exports pointed out that Sri Lanka’s agriculture export had a high concentration in products and export destinations. more..

Five strategic development projects including Krrish to lose concessions

Aug 9 (ST) Govt will not provide any tax concessions in the future under the controversial Strategic Development Project Act with at least five strategic projects including Krrish likely to lose this comfort status. Board of Investment (BOI) officials said concessions under these regulations will be considered only under exceptional circumstances. The five projects for which parliamentary approval for tax concessions is yet to be obtained are more..

Mercantile Investments toasts 50th anniversary with strong performance

Aug 9 (Island) Mercantile Investment and Finance (MI), considered one of the strongest finance companies in the country with over 50 years in business, has returned a strong performance in the year ended March 31, 2015, with gross income up 5% to Rs. 4.29 billion although the profit after tax was down slightly to Rs. 631.3 million from Rs. 675.4 million a year earlier. MI which was founded by George Ondaatjie and is largely owned by his family celebrated its 50th anniv in July 2014 more..

Lankan camp is confident

Aug 9 (ST) Two days hence, Lankans will be embarking on another journey to the unknown when they take on the strong Indian cricket combination in the first of the three Tests at the Galle International Cricket Stadium. Strangely both teams are in the process of team building with some of the stalwarts who had carved a niche deciding to give their playing kit permanent rest in the international arena. At the same time both teams have faced negative results and thus will be looking to more..

Sooka’s organization ready to share details

Aug 9 (SL) International Truth and Justice Project, headed by transitional justice expert Yasmin Sooka, who was also a member of the UN panel of experts on Sri Lanka after the war, says it is ready to share information it has on alleged human rights abuses with Sri Lanka. In an emailed statement, International Truth and Justice Project said that it is incumbent on the Govt to investigate human rights allegations immediately. more..

Lankan tycoon asks planters to ensure integrity of tea

Aug 9 (TOI) Merrill J Fernando, the man who put Ceylon tea on the global market, said maintaining the integrity of tea helped him popularize the beverage. "Integrity of tea means that the product's origin is from a single place and it is not blended with products from other places of origin. This integrity was missing then. So, I worked persistently in providing consumers with a tea whose integrity is intact," Fernando told tea planters at Assam Tea Planters' Association's general meeting. more..

GK Directors step down after new payment plan

Aug 9 (ST) Golden Key (GK) Board of Directors stepped down from their posts making way for the Monetary Board of the Central Bank and the Treasury to appoint two new directors as per the Supreme Court directive on Tuesday. One of the GK directors, Dushanthi Hapugoda who is the chairperson of the All GKCC Depositors’ Association has reportedly taken away three boxes of valuable GK company documents when she left the office Wednesday, an activist of GK pressure group more..

Tension high at Bribery Commission

Aug 9 (CT) Tension is high between Chairman of the CIABOC Jagath Balapatabendi and its Director General Dilrukshi Dias Wickremesinghe over the investigations of some cases. Balapatabendi has allegedly stifled an attempt by Director General to reach an agreement with US Govt to investigate assets and wealth, which are alleged to have been hidden in foreign countries by several powerful politicians. more..

Polls monitor commends EC

Aug 9 (SO) Election watchdog PAFFREL, commending the Election Commissioner’s (EC) role in transferring the Secretary, Ministry of Posts, said incidents of misuse of State power in the current election have come down significantly compared to previous elections. PAFFREL Chairman Rohana Hettiarachchi said, his organization had recorded 77 cases of misuse of State power, assets and officials starting from nominations to date, a remarkable decline compared with previous elections. more..

Sri Lanka may be promoted as Destination of the Year by Lufthansa City Centre

Aug 9 (ST) The Sri Lanka Tourist Board is in discussions with travel agency franchisor Lufthansa City Centre (LCC), represented locally by Jetwing, to promote Sri Lanka as a Destination of the Year to its network of 650 travel agencies as well as, later on, custoers in 85 countries, revealed LCC Managing Director Klaus Henschel. He also noted that this promotion, held only three times before, was most recently responsible for a significant uptick in inbound travellers to Tobago, more..

Italian job visa scam: Rome orders full probe, investigation extends to embassy here

Aug 9 (ST) Italian authorities have ordered a full probe on the alleged scam involving the misuse of 480 Italian job visas and has sought the cooperation of the Govt for this, officials said. In a tough message issued to the Italian Embassy in Colombo, Italian authorities had said a quick and full probe should be conducted immediately and a report submitted soon. Probe would also focus on possible connivance of errant embassy employees more..

MR’s Cabinet to decide on FCID

Aug 9 (CT) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who expressed confidence of winning 117 seats in the next Parliament, said that once he becomes the PM, he would take a Cabinet decision regarding the FCID set up by incumbent Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe. Asked about the future of the pending cases on allegations of corruption and financial fraud allegedly committed by his former regime, Rajapaksa said he would hand over those cases to the Police to investigate if more..

IAAF recognises AASL at last

Aug 9 (ST) After months of deliberation the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) has decided to identify Sugath Thilakaratne and his office bearers as the duly elected officials of the Athletic Association of Sri Lanka (AASL). This decision was ade by the IAAF on Friday following appeals made by former officials and the incumbent president. “As you can read, in the letter they indicate that the elections were duly held at the annual general meeting of the AASL on more..

Army bar political activity by officers & men

Aug 9 (Island) Army headquarters has issued a series of instructions meant to prevent officers and men from engaging in political activities inimical to the institution ahead of August 17 polls. Army Chief Lt. Gen. Crishanthe De Silva has, in instructions issued said that he had no option but to restrict certain rights enjoyed by officers and men in accordance with the Constitution during the ongoing polls campaign to ensure discipline. more..

No political prisoners: Wijeyadasa

Aug 9 (SL) Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe says there are no political prisoners in SL at present. Tamil parties like TNA are referring to Tamil prisoners in SL prisons and are demanding the release of those Tamil prisoners. “The last political prisoner was Sarath Fonseka. He has also been released. TNA is referring to Tamil prisoners who were held in prisons for various reasons. Some of those prisoners have been convicted for various crimes and the others have pending cases. more..

Bharatha Lakshman suspect linked to Bloemendhal shooting

Aug 9 (SO) Amila Sampath, the sixth accused in the Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra murder case, has been arrested by the CID in connection with the Bloemendhal shooting incident, Police said. This most wanted suspect had reportedly gone missing near the Hulftsdorp courts complex on August 6. Police have also located the second car in which the Bloemendhal attackers came. The arrest had been made by a special CID team investigating the Bloemendhal shooting incident in which more..

Cheerful President tells Cabinet, We will meet again after the polls

Aug 9 (ST) President Maithripala Sirisena did not hide his wish that the UNP should be voted to power at the August 17 elections. In a cheerful mood, he told Wednesday’s ministerial meeting that he was looking forward to work with them to carry forward Jan 8 policies or January atey prathipaththi idiriyata geniyanna balapuruththu venawa. He referred to the mandate he won or dinaagaththa jana varama. more..

Can the President appoint only an untainted MP as PM?

Aug 9 (Island) The prelates of the Congress of Religions have called upon the people to "Leave aside political parties. Just concentrate on worthy candidates. … Think of the country and choose the best people from whichever party you’ll be voting for." According to the Island’s lead story on Thursday, the prelates excoriated the major political parties for not abiding by the March 12 Declaration and other pledges, after signing on to them, and nominating candidates more..

Liberals reiterate there is no MoU with UPFA

Aug 9 (Island) I read the article in your Aug. 2 issue on the basis of information provided by Dr.Rajiva Wijesinha (UPFA National List candidate). I would be thankful if you could give adequate publicity to this reply. However I am not going to reply to all the contents of his rejoinder but it is worthwhile answering item six of the said article as it is the basis of the contention between Wijesinha (elected committee member) and me, Secretary General of the Liberal Party. more..

'The UPFA will deliver its promises'

Aug 9 (SL) As the power struggle continues, between the UPFA and the UNP led Good Governance Front, both parties have been directing various allegations against each other in favour of their political campaign ahead of the general election. Deputy Speaker of Parliament Chandima Weerakkody, pointed his fingers at PM Ranil Wickremesinghhe and the UNP govt for protecting corrupt people, especially with more..

MR supporter grabs RDA company

Aug 9 (SL) Despite claims being made by UPFA candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa that govt institutions had not been privatized, startling revelations have come to light as to how a Rajapaksa supporter was allowed to control the Maga Neguma Emulsion Production Company, which was one of the three subsidiaries of the Road Development Authority (RDA). After the fall of the UNP regime in 2004, the then Highways Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa more..

Separate passports for children also

Aug 9 (ST) Children under the age of 16 from tomorrow will be required to have a separate passport instead of including their names in the parents’ passports. Public Order Ministry Secretary T.M.K.B. Tennakoon said that the purpose of issuing passports for children was to include the details into the data base. “There are difficulties in tracing children under the current system when the details are included in the parents’ passports,” more..

Saudi Ganu-Denu of Lankan maid scratches surface of problem

Aug 9 (ST) The Sri Lanka embassy in Riyadh has been directed to track down the Arab sponsor who allegedly offered to sell his Lankan maid for SR 25,000, a senior official said. “This matter is being treated seriously and the officials in Riyadh have been instructed to take the matter up with the highest authorities in that country, or else it could lead to more copy cat attempts by other individuals,” SLBFE Additional General Manager said. more..

Former GK directors to repossess personal assets worth Rs. 3bn

Aug 9 (Island) The termination of the Golden Key (GK) Fundamental Rights plea in the Supreme Court (SC) last week will clear the way for the former directors of this Ceylinco subsidiary to seek repossession of their identified personal assets worth around Rs. 3 billion, officials said. In the backdrop of the govt’s intervention to refund 41% of the holdings of depositors, the SC decided to end proceedings and treat the case as closed. more..

UNP-led coalition to establish 20 committees to oversee state institutions

Aug 9 (ST) The United National Front for Good governance (UNFGG) plans to establish 20 Oversight Committees in Parliament when it comes to power. “These will supervise the work of the govt institutions and will keep a tab on public expenditure,” PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said delivering the keynote address at the Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2015, organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday. more..

Vijayakala places Mahatma and Prabha on same days

Aug 9 (ST) Candidates for the Aug 17 parliamentary elections in the Jaffna District are still vying with each other to please voters who have hardline political pursuits. The UNF’s 26 page manifesto – The Five Point Plan for a new country in 60 months – notwithstanding, its candidate Vijayakala Maheswaran has added one more pledge. In a leaflet distributed in Jaffna this week, Ms. Maheswaran has declared she would, more..

Treasury Bond: The true story

Aug 9 (SL) In the current fraught political transition, from outright autocracy to a more liberal dispensation that Sri Lanka is going through, any hint of malfeasance is picked upon like carrion by the political and media establishment vultures. This is regrettable though understandable. Regrettable, because all rational discourse about the more important need to fix the over-borrowed economy is drowned out by the howls of more..