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'There's no secret deal with the President'

Aug 2 (SO) General Secretary of the UPFA and Colombo District Leader, Susil Premajayantha refutes allegations of a secret pact between him and President Maithripala Sirisena, to appoint him as PM in the event the UPFA returned to power. He says the UPFA's 12-point Manifesto A guarantee for the future will give new life to the country as the govt had failed to meet the people's expectations during its six months in office. more..

Stop this gun culture!

Aug 2 (CT) Gun culture appears to have risen its' ugly head once again. A mass killer inevitably desires to make his mark by committing a uniquely heinous crime. He does not care whether his mark is got or lost. Gun culture in politics is not democracy. Yet, gun massacres now happen. Last Friday, gun toting men in Hybrid cars sprayed bullets at UNP supporters canvassing down Bloemendhal Road, Kotahena. A mother of 3 children succumbed to her injuries, while 11 others were hospitalized. more..

Grandfather’s tales of error

Aug 2 (ST) My Dear Sampanthan seeya, I thought I must write to you because even though there is an election in the entire country it is the battle between the Greens and the Blues that has made the headlines — and what is happening in the North and East hardly gets a mention in the media, probably because there is no war going on now! Electioneering is not so difficult for you this time around because you are assured of most of the seats in the North and a good majority of more..

I won't worship MR again: Mervyn

Aug 2 (CT) Q: Is Janaka Bandara Tennakoon one of your friends? A: Yes. Q: Tennakoon worshipped former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and apologized to him at a UPFA rally in Naula. What do you think about it? A: It is his personal decision and you must ask him about it. I was very good with Rajapaksa but I will never go back to him or worship him. Q: Why did you worship Rajapaksa in public? A: I hail from Beliatta more..

The perils of being loyal to MS

Aug 2 (Island) Just watching the things that President Maithripala Sirisena has been doing, you really begin to pity the unfortunate politicians who were motivated to take his side as against that of Mahinda or Ranil. Last week when Sirisena was unable to dodge summoning an SLFP Central Committee meeting in order to suspend the memberships of five members of that party who decided to contest on the UNP ticket, he decided to issue letters suspending the memberships of more..

UNE students gain insight into Sri Lanka’s health systems

Aug 2 (Island) As an initiative taken by the University of New England Foundation, 12 Pharmacy and Biomedical students and two academics from the University of New England (UNE), Australia arrived in Sri Lanka to gain an insight into the health systems of the country. The International Institute of Health Sciences (IIHS) welcomed the UNE undergraduates in June 2015 and provided them an opportunity to participate in observational studies in numerous hospitals and institutes in more..

Malinga waxes on youngsters despite personal wane

Aug 2 (CI) So often the most polarising cricketer in Sri Lanka, this time Lasith Malinga was himself split on the value of his contribution to the T20 series. On one hand, he appeared almost distraught at his decline in bowling form. He not only suggested again that he lost Sri Lanka the match, but also conceded his career may come to an end if he doesn't improve soon. On the other hand, Malinga responded tersely to criticism of his more..

Binura's Afridi impression & SL's 96 encore

Aug 2 (CI) Sri Lanka have forever been trying to recapture the glory of their 1996 one-day team, and on Saturday, that quest took a new turn. When Kusal Perera was dismissed at the end of the fourth over, a right-hander named de Silva joined an aggressive left-hander named Jayasuriya at the crease. Dhananjaya and Shehan did not quite produce performances worthy of their great namesakes, but were nevertheless involved in a 29-run stand that helped settle the innings after more..

Narrow wins, and the highest by a No. 9

Aug 2 (CI) 3: The number of one-wicket wins in T20Is; it was the first such win for Pakistan. The previous one-wicket wins were by England against Australia in Adelaide in 2011, and by Netherlands against Bangladesh in 2012. 7: Number of wins for Pakistan on the tour of SL - two in Tests, three in ODIs and two in T20Is. It is their highest on a bilateral tour to Sri Lanka - in 1994 they won six: two Tests and four ODIs. 174: Pakistan's score, their third-best in a successful chase in T20Is. more..

'Excel to empower economy, country'

Aug 2 (CT) JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, addressing the business community at Hotel Taprobane last week, called upon the business community to excel in business, which he said, would empower both the economy and the country. "We are not business people – we are politicians. That's what we do best. We want you to excel in your business and thereby empower the economy and the country. more..

Charith: Schoolboy Cricketer 2015

Aug 2 (SO) Charith Asalanka of Richmond College, Galle became the undisputed champion schoolboy cricketer for the year 2015 winning three major awards. Asalanka won the most prestigious 37th Sunday Observer/ Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year award last week. He has been representing his school Richmond and captaining the team at all junior levels. The 2015/ 2016 school cricket season should be another significant year for him as he will be captaining the first XI. more..

The wild and irresponsible Manifestos of the political parties

Aug 2 (Island) The different political parties have put out their Manifestos for the General Election due shortly. Here is what the UPFA promises: They say they will raise the minimum wage in the govt sector to Rs 25,000, and raise the Cost of Living Allowance to Rs 10,000. They also want to dictate to the private sector to raise their wages by Rs 3,000. They will up the Mahapola Scholarship Allowance to Rs 6,000 and give a book allowance of Rs 10,000 for each University student. more..

PM eyes Trinco for international airport, economic hub

Aug 2 (ST) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is keen on developing Trincomalee as an international airport as opposed to prospects by the northerners vying for one in Palali. This idea was mooted by the Premier taking into consideration the economic prospects found in this region, Minister Navin Dissanayake said. Asked about the prospects of establishing an international airport in Palali as sought by the TNA in its election manifesto, more..

Story of Dilip Ruwan, new 400m champion

Aug 2 (Island) Sri Lanka found a new champion in the men’s 400 metres at the last week’s 93rd National Athletics Championships. Dilip Ruwan, a soldier attached to the Gemun Watch turned tables on seasoned campaigners to win the 400 metres in 47.10 seconds, a new personal best for the 24-year-old. It was his first national level victory, just two years after taking up athletics seriously. "I feel that I can be faster than this. I was aiming at 46 seconds but I missed it," Ruwan said. more..

Maithri changing tunes to seek legitimacy

Aug 2 (SL) Photographs of President Maithripala Sirisena being presented with the UPFA election manifestos by SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha were telecast, published and posted in almost every media, last week. The posts were followed, a few hours later, by the announcement made by the President’s Media Unit that Sirisena had taken steps to suspend the SLFP memberships of five individuals who are more..

Millions siphoned out for President’s house

Aug 2 (SL) A staggering Rs. 18.45 million, obtained from local banks in the guise of funds going towards road construction work, had allegedly been spent by the previous regime to renovate the President’s House in Embilipitiya. Cabinet in the former Rajapaksa regime had approved the proposal by the then Ministry of Ports and Highways to obtain an out of budget loan, in 2012, to the value of Rs.151 billion from several local banks to more..

Calm turns storm

Aug 2 (CT) A generally calm political campaign in the country turned violent last Friday when unidentified gunmen sprayed bullets at UNP supporters canvassing house to house to promote UNP District Leader Ravi Karunanayake. UNP claimed the supporters were on a peaceful campaign when armed men in two hybrid cars had sprayed bullets killing a woman and wounding 11 others. The gang had fled in the two vehicles. Prior to nominations, another UNP supporter of more..

Muralitharan, Dilshan brand ambassadors for National Kidney Fund

Aug 2 (NS) President Maithripala Sirisena officially appointed veteran cricketers Muthiah Muralitharan and Tillakaratne Dilshan as brand ambassadors of the National Kidney Fund which was established in line with the sustainable program to control kidney disease – a concept of the President. The appointments were made before the start of the second Twenty20 international between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium on Saturday. more..

Treasury injects Rs. 239.5 bln capital into 9 SOBEs

Aug 2 (ST) Nine State-Owned Business Enterprises (SOBEs) have been provided with a massive sum of Rs.239.5 billion in capital infusion, liquidity improvement and debt capitalisation, as govt bolsters their sustainability amid heavy losses. This infusion was made from the 2015 budget issuing Treasury bonds to offset budgetary problems and meet capital reserve requirements and debts of those SOBEs, a senior govt official said. more..

Carson’s chief hopeful that business unfriendly budget policies will be reviewed

Aug 2 (Island) Some of the tax proposals presented in the National Budget early this year is considered business unfriendly, Mr. Tilak de Zoysa, Chairman of Carson Cumberbatch PLC has stated in the company’s recently released annual report though he has expressed confidence that the govt will review some of these proposals based on the representations made by the Chambers of Commerce on behalf of the private sector. Carson’s which is a multinational conglomerate with more..

Direct assistance to the Northern Province: UN is violating Sri Lanka’s sovereignty

Aug 2 (AT) UN Spokesman for the Secretary-General Stéphane Dujarric, said the UN was exploring the provision of a broad package of technical and financial assistance to the Northern province at the request of the CM C.V. Wigneswaran. He said “we're exploring provision of a broad package of technical and financial assistance at the request of the Chief Minister, also including the support of the Northern Province to bolster citizen confidence in peace process". more..

Kurunegala district could aid Rajapaksa’s comeback

Aug 2 (Hindu) A tough electoral fight is emerging between the UPFA and the UNP in Kurunegala, where former President and UPFA nominee Mahinda Rajapaksa is trying his luck to recapture power. One could get this impression from interactions with a cross-section of people in the Kurunegala electoral district, which comes third at the national level in terms of voters’ strength, following Colombo and Gampaha. more..

UPFA handout manifesto could cost over Rs. 400 bln to implement

Aug 2 (ST) The election manifesto of the UPFA with a host of handouts to be given within 30 days of capturing power would cost the Treasury much more than the usual spend in a national budget. A comprehensive analysis by some financial experts with national budgeting experience, considering the financial implications to any govt, put down the cost of 20 of the main proposals at Rs. 404.2 billion, more than four times the total amount of Rs. 95.5 billion set for expenditure measures in more..

CTC gives Rs. 43.7 Bn to State coffers

Aug 2 (CT) Ceylon Tobacco Company contributed Rs 43.7 billion to the Govt as excise and other taxes for the six months ended 30th June 2015; this is an increase of 18% in comparison to the same period last year and was primarily driven by an excise led price increase experienced in Oct 2014 along with higher volumes during the first six months of 2015. The increase in domestic volumes of 10% as at the end of the 2nd quarter could be attributed to a higher level of consumer confidence more..

Paramour killed his Lover?

Aug 2 (CT) The mystery of the body of the woman that was discovered in a travelling bag at the private bus stand at Bastian Mawatha, Pettah has been solved. Police said her body was brought to the bus terminus by the man she was involved with in an extra-marital affair for 3 years. According to details that have been uncovered by the Colombo Crimes Division, up to now, the body of the woman discovered in the travelling bag was of more..

Security stepped up for UNP candidates

Aug 2 (ST) Police probing the attack on supporters of Minister Ravi Karunanayaka at Kotahena on Friday are looking into two possible motives — a political attack or rivalry among underworld gangs, a senior police officer said. Twenty suspects were taken in for questioning soon after the attack, which was the worst act of violence in the current election campaign. The suspects were released after statements were recorded from them. Modara resident Siththi Nazima (42) was killed more..

IGP orders crackdown

Aug 2 (CT) IGP, N.K. Illangakoon yesterday ordered a probe into the Bloemandhal Road, Kotahena attack on UNP election campaigners to ascertain whether the incident was politically motivated or an underworld clash. Illangakoon gave orders for a swift and thorough investigation into the attack, following a personal visit yesterday to the venue of the attack. The STF, CCD and the CID have been all called in to ensure an early breakthrough in the probe. STF, called to the scene of the crime soon after more..

Italian jobs scam: SL faces blacklisting

Aug 2 (ST) Italy has threatened to blacklist Sri Lanka in the job market following a scandal involving the alleged sale of 480 officially sanctioned employment visas to private individuals at a staggering Rs. 500 million or more. 594 job visas in the domestic and semi-skilled category were issued by Italian govt last year but only 114 were documented with the regulatory authorities while the remaining had gone unaccounted for. more..

‘I cannot comment on whether it was arson’

Aug 2 (Island) The house of former Minister, C.B. Ratnayake at Madiwala was extensively damaged in a fire that broke out around 3.30 am yesterday, police said. Ratnayake was away campaigning as a contender for the August 17 parliamentary poll at the time of the blaze. The house situated at Subra Mawatha, Madiwala, Kotte, was owned by the ex MP, who occupied it when he visited Colombo, but due to a busy poll-related schedule, it had remained closed for about a month. more..

Joint South Asian battle against narcotics, human smuggling

Aug 2 (ST) Sri Lanka will from next month be part of a new regional grouping to share intelligence to prevent drug trafficking, human smuggling and organised crime. National Dangerous Drugs Control Board Chairman Nilanga Samarasinghe said the groundwork for this had been laid and later this month, the leaders of several Asian countries would sign an agreement. This Indian Ocean Monitoring Centre would be set up to prevent drug trafficking, money laundering, human trafficking and more..

Rumblings in Jaffna: War was won, not yet the hearts and minds of the people

Aug 2 (ST) Crowded restaurant of a luxury hotel in town tells the story of the ever changing social scene nearly six years after the military defeat of Tiger guerrillas. Tables are full. Bottles of red and white wine are emptied by men in fancy T-shirts and jeans. Their female counterparts also in jeans & different tops are a contrast to their local friends or relatives. Locals are mostly in sarong & shirt whilst women folk are in colourful salwar more..

Silan Kadirgamar (1934-2015)

Aug 2 (Island) The passing away of Silan Kadirgamar last Saturday has left an unfillable void in the lives of many who knew him and appreciated their association with him. Silan’s circles of associations went far beyond the usual circles of family and friends that most people have. Those of us who were willingly trapped in Silan’s intersecting circles of commitment and action will miss him dearly, but we also owe it to him to reflect on his life for its many accomplishments more..

National Security, in Peace Time

Aug 2 (Island) For Lankan Tamils, the cruellest month had to be July. No defeat or tragedy which befell them was as universal as Black July. It was a general conflagration which spared no Tamil. Poor bottle-sellers and wealthy entrepreneurs, uneducated road-sweepers and highly qualified professionals, voters and politicians, Hindus and Christians, young and old, leftists and rightists, men and women, every Tamil was imperilled by it. Last year, as Aluthgama burnt, it looked as if more..

Rajapaksas’ billion-rupee travel bills

Aug 2 (ST) Eye-watering amounts of public mney have been splurged on former President Rajapaksa’s visits abroad, documents obtained by Sunday Times show. Between 2012 and 2014, Presidential Secretariat spent more than Rs. 2 billion on expenses incurred by Mr. Rajapaksa and his various delegations. Money was routed through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to foreign missions for settlement of bills. more..

Galle Lit Fest 2016 will be on again

Aug 2 (Island) The Galle Literary Festival, or since its first appearance in 2005, the Galle Lit Fest will be celebrated again, from January 13, 2016. Since its eventful entry into the realm of literature and writing, and its growth and progressive confluence to foster writers, poets, authors and allied interest areas, the Galle Lit Fest grew in stature and is now a phenomenon in the world of writing. Gore Vidal, was one of the visiting more..

I did not leave Hambantota due to fear: MR

Aug 2 (CT) I came especially to Sooriyawewa to give an important message to the people here. I am contesting from Kurunegala and not from Hambantota. I saw in certain media that I was supposed to be scared of Hambantota which is why I am not contesting from there. Why should I be scared? The people of my district love me. People in other districts are battling for me. I decided it would be better if I more..

J'accuse' Ravi K! – says the people

Aug 2 (CT) Following the harrowing incident where one person was killed and 13 others were injured in a shooting, during an election canvassing of the UNP in Kotahena last Friday, Minister Ravi Karunanayake is reportedly seeking therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder. He accused the former President Rajapaksa as the mastermind behind this attempt on his life and the Yahapalana Govt, said that he was more..

The heat is on till September

Aug 2 (ST) The prevailing extreme heat and humidity will continue till the first week of September, the Meteorological Department has warned. The usual monsoonal rains that come in March and April had avoided Sri Lanka this year, except for occasional rains marked by intense thunder and lightning. Sri Lanka had not received its seasonal rain, at the beginning of the year, due to the prevailing El-Nino Southern Oscillation more..

SLMC tells TNA: No talks, no merger

Aug 2 (SO) General Secretary of the SLMC and State Minister M.T. Hasan Ali said plans by TNA to unilaterally propose a North-East unification would be rejected outright by the Muslims, unless there was consultation and consensus. Responding to the TNA’ call for the merger of the North and the East – based on Tamil leaders’ persistent call for a federal system of governance within a unified North-Eastern Province more..

Concerns raised over Sooka’s new report

Aug 2 (CG) The Govt has raised concerns over the report released by an international human rights agency which claims that human rights violations had taken place in Sri Lanka even in 2015. Govt sources said that it would be helpful if groups like the International Truth and Justice Project focuses on working with the Govt to share details and evidence of alleged incidents related to human rights abuses. more..