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Hambantota port ready end 2016

Aug 10 (CT) The second phase of the Hambantota Port will be completed by end 2016 and will usher in a new era for container movement for industries which will come up in a 3000 acre industrial zone. "We are on track to complete the Phase 2 which will cost US$ 808 Million and will have three new berths. There will be two new berths of 800 metres and third will be 400 metres, SLPA Chairman Dr. Panagoda said. more..

Former coach on Wasim Thajudeen heroics

Aug 10 (Island) I was a successful rugby coach at all levels - schools, clubs and national. After successfully coaching Kandy Sports Club from 1995-1997, where they were triple champions for the first time in the history, I got the opportunity to coach S. Thomas’ College Mt. Lavinia in 1998. It was a bit of a challenge as the Thomians were not doing well at that time and I was looking after the under-17 squad, grooming for the future. The Principal was that great educationalist Mr. Neville de Alwis, more..

Asian Youth Sevens: Injury worries for SL

Aug 10 (CT) Injury hit Sri Lanka Youth U-20 sevens rugby pool lose two more key players. Josephian scrum half Vimukthi Rahula and Trinity winger Saranga Gunathilake both joined the injury list ahead of the Asian Youth Sevens Series which kicks off at Johor Bahru in Malaysia on 15 August. Both were injured during the trials held on Friday prior to reducing the 30 member pool to 17. "Unfortunately we lost both players; especially scrum half Vimukthi Rahula who was the second choice more..

Sri Lanka goes live this week on real time fund transfers

Aug 10 (ST) Sri Lanka will, for the first time, make real time bank transfers for payments commencing this week kicked off by Lanka Clear, the infrastructure developer for the financial sector. Eight banks and financial institutions and the state-run Customs Department would be ready to go live from Thursday as scheduled by Lanka Clear that would be launching its newest product to make payment transfers within seconds, more..

MR says he could have ruined Sajith Premadasa’s politics

Aug 10 (CT) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa today said that when Sajith Premadasa’s sister, Dulanjali Premadasa was caught red handed with a large number of forged currency notes inside a bank, his govt had never interfered in the investigation. Rajapaksa said that he could have remanded her and blown up the issue and put an end to her brother’s political career. He said unlike the new govt he never interfered in legal issues and had let the officials do their job. more..

Customs to be fully automated by March

Aug 10 (DN) Sri Lanka Customs clearance is now in the final stages of automating its processes to ensure that the trade is facilitated to the maximum with minimal operational delays, Finance Minister said. Karunanayake told a seminar that already they have placed orders of automation equipment and some have already been delivered to Sri Lanka and will become full operational from early next year 2016. “Consequently, all operations in the Customs will be processed electronically and more..

Thumbs-up for foreign policy this year: Poll

Aug 10 (FT) According to the results of TNS Lanka’s latest exclusive nationwide survey, for business magazine LMD, 56% of the people state that Sri Lanka’s foreign policy has been balanced this year. This group of respondents is of the view that such an approach stems from the economic advantages it could derive, and as a result of the new Govt taking over in January, it adds. LMD states: Digging deeper, poll reveals that over more..

SL businesses should engage more in e-commerce: ICTA chief

Aug 10 (Island) Sri Lankan businesses need to use digital space more as internet-powered shopping across national borders has created modern spice routes for merchants who tap into the booming trend, ICTA Chief said. "Do we have borders in this space? No. We have no boarders. We are open," Muhunthan Canagey, CEO of the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) said. "Let's take a scenario where you would sell your products in an outlet of a shopping mall, more..

Steps to rehabilitate Maho - Vavuniya Railway track

Aug 10 (GDI) Sri Lanka Railways has taken steps to rehabilitate the railway line section (120.7 km) from Maho to Vavuniya (inclusive of 5.0 kms of loop lines). Accordingly the first phase of this project aims to rehabilitate the line from Anuradhapura to Vavuniya (49.4 km) and the second phase from Maho to Anuradhapura (66.4 km). The main objective of the Sri Lanka Railways is to provide a safe, reliable and a punctual rail transport service for passenger and freight traffic. more..

'Sanga is best batsman SL ever produced'

Aug 10 (PTI) Former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene has paid a fitting tribute to the retiring Kumar Sangakkara, describing him as the greatest batsman to have emerged from the island nation since their entry into international cricket. Sangakkara, who has 12,000 plus Test runs and 14,000 plus runs in ODIs, will retire from international cricket after playing the first two Tests against India in the three-match series. more..

'2.5mn freehold lands to come into market'

Aug 10 (LBO) Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said, the govt will provide freehold land titles for those who have enjoyed occupation of land under different govt schemes since 1931. “We want to encourage small ownership, a strong middle class and this is why we will be giving fully hold to the all lands issued on permits from 1931, whether it will be a land for agriculture, lands for building houses or even flats,” Wickremesinghe told the Economic Summit held last week. more..

Massive security in Aluthgama and Dharga Town for BJP rally

Aug 10 (FT) Police threw a tight security net around Aluthgama and Dharga Town in the Kalutara Distirct yesterday in anticipation of two campaign rallies organised in the area by Bodu Jana Peramuna candidate and BBS’s controversial monk, Galagodaththe Gnansara Thera. Aluthgama and the predominantly Muslim settlement of Dharga Town were the scenes of the worst religious riots in decades, with attacks on Muslim-owned homes and businesses killing three people and injuring more..

Arjuna rebuts Nivard, says not to attack CB for narrow political ends

Aug 10 (FT) In response to former Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal’s letter countering allegations against him and levelling fresh charges against the current Govt, the incumbent Central Bank head Arjuna Mahendran has sent a detailed response. Mahendran has countered the allegations and has warned Cabraal against attacking the Central Bank to achieve narrow political ends. more..

Sri Lanka Maritime Week declared

Aug 10 (DN) Industry says a major boost and recognition for the shipping and logistics industry: The govt for the very first time has declared a Maritime Week in Sri Lanka from Sept 21 to 27 in line with the world maritime day which falls on the Sept 24, which will be observed by the International Maritime Organisation and UN worldwide. Minister of Ports and Shipping, Arjuna Ranatunga, through a memorandum submitted to the Cabinet dated May 27, sought the cabinet approval and more..

Sujeewa's office attacked

Aug 10 (CT) The Athurugiriya urban office of UNP Colombo District candidate Sujeewa Senasinghe was attacked yesterday injuring one individual, said police sources. The injured person was later hospitalized due to the injuries sustained in the assault. One suspect was arrested over the incident. Meanwhile, three suspects who were transporting posters, leaflets and stickers of a Vavuniya District candidate were arrested by the police last Saturday evening. more..

UNP likely to get most seats: Analysis

Aug 10 (EN) In a scenario analysis by our political correspondent on the 2015 parliamentary polls, the UNP is leading on three probable outcomes but without a simple majority of 113 in the 225-member parliament. Our political correspondent has analysed three scenarios covering the best case for the UPFA, the best case for the UNP and a conservative view. In each model, the UNP is in the lead, but without a simple majority of 113. more..

Prisoners orchestrating election time crime

Aug 10 (CT) Commissioner of Prisons Rohana Pushpakumara has decided to enhance security in all prisons across the island during the period of the general election. The Commissioner of Prisons told Ceylon Today that these steps were taken because of a request made by Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya, who had taken into consideration complaints he had received to the effect that some manner of criminal activity has been planned for execution during the elections. more..

Sajith strongly refutes MR’s water tax allegations

Aug 10 (DN) Housing and Samurdhi Minister Sajith Premadasa noted that the govt has not taken any measures to sell water resources or impose a tax on water sources. Minister Premadasa made these remarks while flatly refuting allegations leveled by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa that the government is planning to sell water resources and impose a tax on water usage. He further added that no Cabinet Paper has been submitted in this regard as Rajapaksa claimed. more..

Wasim Thajudeen's murder: Former DIG, several PSD officers to be questioned

Aug 10 (DN) Retired Senior DIG Anura Senanayake and several officers who were previously attached to the Presidential Security Division (PSD) are likely to be questioned in connection with Rugby Player Wasim Thajudeen's death. Senanayake, an officer who had close links to the authorities of the previous regime, was the one who headed investigations into Thajudeen's death. Meanwhile, CID had received information that more..

Election law violations cross 900 incidents

Aug 10 (LBO) Election watchdog PAFFREL says the organization has received 915 complaints in relation to 972 electoral and general law violations by yesterday afternoon. Among them, 114 are related to acts of violence and 132 incidents of electoral or general law violations. As per the PAFFREL report which covers the pre election period, a total of 49 hospitalizations have been reported to date. Two killings and 27 grievous assaults were among 132 acts of violence related violations. more..

Bridge project: MR non-committal

Aug 10 (Island) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa refused to be drawn on the proposed bridge between SL and India. Asked to comment on the project which has run into resistance in SL, Rajapaksa said it was too early to do so. When it was pointed out that the Indian media had reported that the project would get off the ground before long with funds from the ADB, UPFA PM Candidate said his party was awaiting an official confirmation to make its position known thereon. more..

PM calls on Lankans to reject communalism

Aug 10 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe called on the people of the country to shed petty divisions such as communalism and join together to solve the nation’s problems. Addressing a UNP election rally in Kalmunai on Sunday, the PM recalled that in the past all communities contributed to the development of the country and said that their cooperation was required to develop the country in the future as well. more..

CBK shuns UNP stage

Aug 10 (CT) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga said she will not get on the UNP political platform as she was born into the SLFP and will die as a SLFPer. She made this statement addressing a meeting organized by Purawesi Balaya organization in Kurunegala. She added that she wanted to retire from politics after completing her two term tenure as President; however she was compelled to return to politics to save the SLFP from the clutches of former President Rajapaksa. more..

'Govt has balanced development policy'

Aug 10 (ITN) President Maithripala Sirisena says his govt does not have a policy to effect an un-balanced development policy where only one area is developed spending a huge amount of money. A religious ceremony took place under the patronage of President at the Polonnaruwa Pulasthigama Sri Priya Dharshanarama Temple. The Mahasangha including Venerable Dambara Amila Thera and North Central Province Chief Minister Peshala Jayaratne were present on the occasion. more..

Mahinda confident of comfortable win

Aug 10 (Island) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressed newspaper editors and other media personnel at the Hilton Residencies. He was flanked by the high command of UPFA - General Secretary Susil Premajayantha, SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, MEP leader Dinesh Gunawardena, NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa, PHU leader Udaya Gammanpila, Liberal Party leader Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, more..

Now is the hour for Sri Lanka

Aug 10 (DM) As political parties move into the last lap of their campaign for the August 17 general elections, the most notable feature is that the Rule of Law is reigning while the Elections Commissioner’s Department, the Police and others are acting strictly against election violence or violations of election laws. The outspoken and widely respected Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya over the weekend took strict action against errant State officials who he said were not cooperating more..

Gota’s (other) War

Aug 10 (DM) Former Defence Secretary and the former president’s brother, Gotabaya Rajapaksa is touted for giving leadership to defeat the Tamil Tigers. After the then govt jailed and stripped military honours of former army chief Sarath Fonseka, Gotabaya and his elder sibling, ex-president Mahinda claimed for the exclusive rights of the military victory. Gotabaya, indeed, played a major role in the military success; more than anything, he, somehow, managed to formulate a unified more..

'Some parties compelled to safeguard corrupt politicians to protect themselves'

Aug 10 (DM) Having served as the Former Auditor General, Sarath Chandrasiri Mayadunne is leading the JVP National List at the general elections. In a candid interview with Dailymirror, Mr. Mayadunne speaks of his entry into politics and of how he expects to serve the public void of corruption whilst providing a better insight into why he wouldn’t be engaging in party politics. He had the following to share with us. more..

Finger pointed at three PSD personnel

Aug 10 (SL) All eyes are now focussed on the fact finding operation on the mysterious death of the former national rugby player and Captain of the Havelock rugby team, Mohammed Wasim Thajudeen. Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne last week alleged that three STF personnel attached to the Presidential Security Division (PSD) were involved in the murder, although it was described as an accidental death. more..

Only under UNP country can flourish: Karu

Aug 10 (Island) The country’s economy had flourished with the input of large scale local and foreign investment only under UNP led govts and, therefore, the people should elect the UNP if they needed a prosperous future, Minister Karu Jayasuriya said in a media statement. He said only the UNP was equal to the task of facing the present day challenges and capable of winning both local and international support. more..

Kandy City will be developed preserving its historical heritage: President

Aug 10 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena says he would comprehensively develop the historical Kandy City under a proper town plan, preserving its historical heritage. He added that he would implement the work on that after forthcoming Parliamentary Election, paying the consideration on the ideas and suggestions of all political parties, government officials and business community. more..

Deputy Justice Minister, 5 others absent from court

Aug 10 (ST) Homagama Magistrate Y.R.B. Nelumdeniya this week ordered Deputy Minister of Justice Sujeewa Senasinghe and five others to appear in courts next Wednesday, over an incidence of violating election laws. The Magistrate ordered Police that, in the event they could not serve notice on the Deputy Minister, to paste the notice at his residence. Magistrate gave the directive after ASP for Homagama, more..

'Opposition trying to defame me'

Aug 10 (DM) Minister and Leader of the Gampaha district, John Amaratunga is another popular contestant at the general elections. In a candid interview with the Daily Mirror, he shared what activities he has done under his Ministry, while expressing his views on the various allegations against him. Q: How is the election campaigning progressing? A: The UNP is heading for a victory and the ultimate aim is to get 2/3rds majority. more..

Some would-be law makers break the law: EC

Aug 10 (DM) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said that parliament was responsible for the enactment of laws for the benefit of the people, but that the very people who were hoping to enter parliament were breaking the law during this election period. During this election, police were enforcing the law properly. But some seemed to be displeased by this and criticised the officials saying they were implementing laws more..

Govt records drop in foreign debt

Aug 10 (CG) Sri Lanka’s foreign debt under the new govt has decreased while maintaining the foreign reserve at US $ 7.5 billion, the Finance Ministry said in a statement. Sri Lanka has borrowed only 43 billion rupees in the first half of this year as external debt. Minister of Finance attributed this lower amount recorded to the efficient manner in which reforms introduced by the new govt to public administration and financial management. more..

Govt begins to issue biometric passports

Aug 10 (GDI) Sri Lankan Govt has decided to obtain fingerprints as biometric data of applicants when issuing Passports. Accordingly the Immigration and Emigration Department will begin the process to issue biometric passports according to international standards with effect from 10th August 2015. With this arrangement, Sri Lankan Passport will become a travel document with international recognition. more..

Obstructing poll campaign: Sujeewa files FR petition

Aug 10 (DM) Deputy Justice Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe today filed a fundamental rights petition in the Supreme Court seeking an order directing the police to take disciplinary action against the sergeant who Mr. Senasinghe claimed to have blocked a truck that was being used in his election campaign. The petitioner said the truck had speakers fixed on it for the purpose of canvassing and that it was in line with EC’s permission more..

Last lap standings

Aug 10 (CT) Sri Lankans will be going to the polls in exactly a week's time to elect the island's 15th Parliament. It's mainly a two cornered battle between the UNP and the SLFP, with the latter leading its UPFA coalition for the 3rd time at a general election. While the UNP has always been one of top two contenders in the 14 general elections held thus far since independence or on the eve of independence, not least at next week's general election as well, the SLFP, either more..

New twist in Wasim Thajudeen media blitz

Aug 10 (CT) Mahinda Rajapaksa Information Center, yesterday published a scanned copy of the original report filed by Inspector Damian Perera, OIC, Police Station Narahenpita on 2012 May 21, four days after the incidence which produced the body identified as Wasim Thajudeen’s in the burnt car registered in his name. This report lists the initial evidence of the friends who last saw Thajudeen alive as well the first spectators at the site of the crash. more..

Video: Thajudeen’s body exhumed

Aug 10 (DM) Ruggerite Wasim Thajudeen’s body was exhumed a short while ago at Jummah Mosque Cemetery, Dehiwala as per the order of Colombo Additional Magistrate Nishantha Peiris. Magistrate on Thursday ordered a panel of judicial medical officers to exhume the body of former Havelock's Rugby captain, Thajudeen, today. CID earlier informed the Magistrate that Thajudeen’s death was not accidental but a murder. more..