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Tea export to Iran to begin soon

Aug 25 (DN) Sri Lanka will once again commence exporting tea to Iran, Colombo Tea Trader’s Association Chairman Anselm Perera said. He said that this will be from November. Iran was the second largest buyer of Sri Lankan tea importing 50 million kilograms per year which amounted to US$ 350 million in revenue. “Though the US sanctions on Iran were lifted last month it takes some time for the banking system to get in to place. There was a ban for Iranian companies to disperse more..

'Don't blame me for NL appointments'

Aug 25 (DM) Former UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha said he was not involved nor consulted when selecting the party's National List (NL) nominees for appointment to parliament. He said as such it was unfair for the UPFA's constituent parties or defeated UPFA members not appointed to parliament on the national list to critisise him. He said enjoining order preventing him from functioning more..

Kandy pageant begins tonight

Aug 25 (Island) The first of the five Randoli Perahera of the Kandy historical Esala Perahera parades the streets of Kandy tonight. Randoli Perahera tonight begins from opposite the Sri Dalada Maligawa at 7.42 p.m. and will proceed along Dalada Veediya, D.S. Senanayaka Veediya, Temple Street, Deva Veediya, Sir Bennet Soysa Veediya, E. L. Senanayake Veediya and Raja Veediya. The final Randola Perahera will be held on Aug 29, night according to the Perahera programme more..

TNA picks National List MPs

Aug 25 (CT) The TNA yesterday nominated K. Thurairatnasingham from the Trincomalee District and Shanthi Sriskandarajah from the Vanni District as National List MPs. The TNA coalition which contested under the ITAK ticket secured a massive victory in the North and East at the recent general election. ITAK secured five seats from the Jaffna District, four seats from Vanni, three from Batticaloa, and one each from Trincomalee and Ampara at the recent election. more..

'No legal basis for an int'l investigation'

Aug 25 (DM) Asserting that there was no legal basis for an international investigation within Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that there should be a domestic inquiry into the alleged violations of human rights in Sri Lanka. In an interview with India’s The Hindu, the day after he assumed office, Mr. Wickremesinghe said that it should be a domestic inquiry as Sri Lanka wasn't a signatory to the Statute of Rome. more..

Saman Ekanayake appointed Secretary to PM

Aug 25 (DN) Saman Ekanayake has been appointed as the Secretary to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe. He received his appointment letter from President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday. He served as Secretary to the Prime Minister earlier as well. He is a special grade officer of the Sri Lanka Public Administration Service. He a graduate from the Peradeniya University and obtained his MA from the Sri Jayawardenepura University on Public Administration. more..

IUSF lodges complaint at CID: Mysterious deaths of two undergrads in 2010

Aug 25 (CT) The IUSF lodged a complaint at the Criminal Investigation Department in Colombo Fort calling for a special investigation into the deaths of two undergrads in 2010. Convener of the IUSF Najith Indika said that Janaka Bandara, an undergraduate of the University of Kelaniya and Sisitha Priyankara, an undergraduate of the University of Ruhuna, had died mysteriously on 27, September 2010 in the Imbulgoda area during a massive protest action. more..

27 more Cabinet Ministers to be sworn in today?

Aug 25 (Island) About 27 more ministers are expected to be sworn in today before President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat. President appointed Mangala Samaraweera, Wijeyadasa Rajapaksa and D. M. Swaminathan ministers of Foreign, Justice and Rehabilitation respectively. Explaining Srisena’s decision to appoint three Ministers yesterday, Presidential sources said that it was because more..

Nisha Biswal can help or make things worse

Aug 25 (DM) he importance of Assistant Secretary of the USA for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal’s visit to Sri Lanka cannot be over-emphasised. Firstly, this is her second post-election visit to Sri Lanka, having come here immediately after President Maithripala Sirisena took office. Secondly, she is visiting a Sri Lanka, whose foreign policy orientation is starkly different to that which existed during the tenure of Sirisena’s predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

The curious case of Manapa votes

Aug 25 (DM) Our choices for elected representatives are always a matter of curiosity. What qualities and credentials are we looking in them? A safe guess would be that we didn’t want them to be murderers, fraudsters and crooks. But, take a look at some of those people who polled the most number of preferential votes in certain districts, you will find that logic does not count anymore. Chief Minister who is being investigated by CID and FCID topped UPFA preferential votes from more..

'MR’s comeback affected us'

Aug 25 (DM) Former JVP Provincial Councillor K.D. Lal Kantha said the party could not achieve the expected results at the General elections as it was as crucial as the Presidential election. Unlike other general elections, people had to decide whether to appoint former President Rajapaksa as the PM or not. He said although there were issues with regard to the national list within the party, the two members who were appointed more..

COI expedites probe on Rakna Lanka

Aug 25 (SL) Questions have been raised as to why former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is dragging his feet to give a statement to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into Fraud and Corruption, regarding serious allegations of misuse of state power in relation to Rakna Arakshaka Lanka – the then govt-backed security firm, which was launched whilst he was in office. Permanent Secretary to Ministry of Defence more..

Ho hum, another election, said stay-home Jaffna voters

Aug 25 (ST) On Monday, the people of Jaffna began their day-to-day businesses, apparently forgetting it was election day and that they should be heading for the polling booths. It took nearly one hour after the polling booths opened at 7am for people to flock in numbers to cast their votes. Voting went well until mid-afternoon when an unexpected downfall of rain occurred, interrupting everything. more..

'Kumar & Mahela were driven by healthy rivalry'

Aug 25 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara was driven by a "healthy rivalry" with Mahela Jayawardene, former Sri Lanka coach Tom Moody has said. Both men have retired as Sri Lanka's two highest Test run scorers - Sangakkara sits atop the list with 12,400 runs. The pair had bloomed during Moody's stint as coach, and memorably struck a world-record 624 runs together against South Africa in 2006. Sri Lanka drew Test series in England & NZ, more..

Trio takes over Taprobane Holdings

Aug 25 (FT) Adding excitement to an otherwise bearish Bourse, a joint venture firm powered by three big names yesterday bought a 31% stake in diversified entity Taprobane Holdings for Rs. 1.7 billion, triggering the takeovers code. CHC Investments Ltd., which is a joint venture equally owned by Galle Face Hotel Group fame Sanjiv Gardiner, bond market specialist and investor Ajit Devasurendra & diversified family business more..

Blair assures to appear on behalf of SL

Aug 25 (AD) Former British PM Tony Blair has assured to appear on behalf of Sri Lanka in eliminating misconceptions in the world. He gave this assurance during a meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena. Blair who is on a private visit to Sri Lanka met President Sirisena at the President’s Office. He appreciated the initiative taken by the President for the conduct of the elections in a free and peaceful environment. more..

Susil resigns as UPFA General Secretary

Aug 25 (AD) Susil Premajayantha on Tuesday tendered his resignation letter to the President as the General Secretary of the UPFA. “I am disappointed as some of the coalition partners of the UPFA tend to mislead the people with media statements and press conferences. I am too disappointed with the acts of some UPFA members who show no intention of protecting the party,” Premajayantha said in the letter. more..

Mervyn noticed over white vans

Aug 25 (HN) The Colombo Chief Magistrate Justice Gihan Pilapitiya issued notice to former minister Mervin Silva today, to appear before court on the 11th of November in order to provide evidence regarding the abduction of people using white vans and their disappearance afterwards. This order was issued as the three Habeas corpus cases filed by the relations of three residents of Modara abducted in this manner, were called today. more..

Fisheries Ministry predicts lifting of EU ban before year end

Aug 25 (Island) Fisheries Ministry predicted that the ban imposed by the European Union (EU) on Sri Lanka’s fish exports would be lifted before the year end. Fisheries Ministry Secretary Nimal Hettiarachchi said that the reason for the continuing decline of the seafood exports was due to the EU ban though there were alternative fish export markets in countries like Russia. Seafood exports declined by 36% in the first half of this year. more..

Sri Lanka briefs U.S. on domestic human rights mechanism

Aug 25 (Hindu) Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera on Tuesday briefed two top visiting U.S. State Department officials about the measures taken by the govt to address the human rights concerns following the over three-decade-long civil war with the LTTE. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal and Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour more..

No more Kattankudys

Aug 25 (CT) Where there is no law, terror reigns. It's the law of the jungle that then takes precedence. Due to alleged internecine fighting in the Muslim dominated area of Kattankudy in the East last Friday; that had led to three persons, including a pregnant woman having had to be hospitalized. The clash had ostensibly been between SLMC supporters and UPFA supporters of M.L.A.M. Hisbullah, an SLMC renegade, where the latter had been appointed on the UPFA National List to more..

Hon. Karuna Amman: The one even above the God

Aug 25 (CT) I know a mother whose son went missing. She is from Neerveli, Jaffna. The pain is gruesome. It is not something like your loved one getting killed, where you have no choice but to accept the reality and come over the grief and move on. But having someone from your family missing (enforced) is terrible. It just leaves you some questions. First whether your loved one is alive or not? If alive, where is he/she? Is he/she being treated well or being tortured? more..

Ceylon Today Cartooon

Shares fall to 1-mo low on global selloff, margin calls

Aug 25 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares fell to a near-one-month low on Tuesday as foreign investors exited risky assets on fears of a China-led global economic slowdown and panic selling by local investors for month-end settlements and margin calls. The main stock index was down 1.09%, or 79.81 points, at 7,251.28 at 0654 GMT, its lowest level since July 28. The index has fallen 2.9% in the last two sessions, mainly on concerns of a global selloff. Turnover stood at 749.1 million rupees. more..

Sri Lanka IOC unit seeks bonded storage to boost bunker business

Aug 25 (EN) Lanka IOC, a unit of Indian Oil Corporation said it is seeking approval to have bonded storage at its facilities near Sri Lanka's Trincomalee port to boost bunkering business. Bonded storage allows material oil to be imported without paying customs duty. Indrajit Bose, Chairman of Lanka IOC told shareholders in the annual report that potential business of 8000 metric tonnes of 380CST fuel oil and 500 metric tonnes of marine gas oil per month from vessels transiting the Bay of Bengal. more..

Gajen branded as racist: Two state one country concept

Aug 25 (CT) Leader of TNPF - main constituent of ACTC Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam could not mange to win a single seat at the last week’s parliamentary elections which he claims that the TNA ‘misled’ the people and robbed his chances of winning at least two seats. The Tamils are ‘happy’ in the North, that they have finally given into the TNA ‘fully’ when from its usual song of 13A and a unitary state went further calling for a federal govt. more..

Presidential Commission probing corruption opens to electronic media

Aug 25 (Island) The electronic media will be allowed to cover proceedings of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry that Investigates Serious Acts of Fraud, Corruption and Abuse of Power, State Resources and Privileges (PRECIFAC), henceforth for the purpose of informing the general public. "The members of the Commission are fully aware that the public will not be able to see how the process is being handled by the Commission in regard to their petitions," more..

Sajin Vass further remanded

Aug 25 (AD) UPFA MP Sajin de Vass Gunawardena, who was arrested for allegedly misusing vehicles belonging to the President Secretariat Office, has been further remanded until September 8 by the Fort Magistrate’s Court, today. A bail application, which was filed by a Counsel on behalf of former UPFA MP Gunawardena, was also dismissed by the Colombo High Court earlier. The CID summoned Gunawardena to record a statement on May 11 where he was subsequently arrested. more..

Sri Lanka national govt heading for still birth

Aug 25 (EN) President Sirisena's attemnpt to form a national govt with PM Ranil Wickremesinghe's UNP appears in serious trouble. Sirisena who is struggling to secure control over the SLFP offered his MPs the option of joining a national govt, but there were fewer takers. The move also led to intense heartburn within the ranks of the UNP which was unhappy about sharing a pie they were ready to enjoy after remaining in the opposition for two decades. more..

Sri Lanka attracts nature and adventure tours from Spain

Aug 25 (GDI) Intensive marketing of Sri Lanka as an ideal destination for nature and adventures tours by Aitken Spence Travels has attracted a leading specialized tour operator from Spain to send two tourist groups to Sri Lanka this month. The groups’ tours in Sri Lanka were handled by Aitken Spence Travels, SL’s leading destination management company. Spanish tour operator who specializes in nature and adventure, offers such tours to most parts of the world from Spain. more..

LTTE, Armed Forces responsible for disappearances: Relatives

Aug 25 (AM) Both the LTTE and SL security forces were responsible for disappearances of several people in Kaluwanchikudy and Vellaveli during the war, Presidential Commission Investigating Cases of Missing Persons was told by relatives of the missing. Relatives of the missing persons made these claims during the public hearing sessions conducted by the commission. The hearings were held at the Divisional Secretary Offices of Valachchena and Kaluwanchikudy for two days. more..

Video: 'President has no ethical right to select National List MPs'

Aug 25 (AD) The President has no ethical right to select Parliamentarians through the National List, PHU Leader Udaya Gammanpila says. The observation was made at a press conference held in Colombo this afternoon. Gammanpila also severely criticised the manner in which the UPFA national list MPs were selected. “It is not a secret that the UPFA supporters are disappointed about the National List,” he added. more..

Sri Lanka must think carefully about devaluation: Harsha

Aug 25 (EN) Sri Lanka needs to think carefully about devaluating its currency at a time when other countries are trying to increase exports by weakening their domestic currencies, former deputy minister Harsha De Silva said. “Every country is trying to increase exports (to the) same strong markets such as China,” said De Silva, who has returned to parliament as a newly elected member. “Some countries are trying to devaluate their currencies for exports competitiveness. more..

Witch-doctor poisons two

Aug 25 (CT) An incident was reported from Kottukachchiya in Puttalam where a father and daughter had died after drinking coconut water given by an exorcist. The two deceased family members had visited an exorcist to receive medication for a prolonged illness said the police adding that the medicine given by the exorcist had poisoned the two family members. 40-year-old daughter had reportedly died last Tuesday due to an increased phlegm condition, while the 60-year-old father more..

Sri Lanka rupee depreciated to 134.25 to the US dollar

Aug 25 (EN) Rupee was allowed to fall 15 cents to 134.25 to the US dollar by authorities, while data showed that rupee liquidity was being steadily injected to keep interest rates down and increase pressure on the currency. State banks which usually act for the monetary authority further restricted giving dollars at the official 134.25 rupee intervention rate in the spot market and lenders are paying exporters as much 136 rupees to buy dollars, more..

Family dispute ends in double murder

Aug 25 (CT) Police launched investigations into an incident in which two women were critically injured after being stabbed in Karadana area in Kiriella last Sunday evening police sources said. One of the victims was pronounced dead upon admission to Kiriella Hospital, while the other victim was transferred to Ratnapura Hospital for further treatment. Police have arrested a 23-year-old resident of Karadana in suspicion of the murder who was produced before more..

Sri Lankan navy chases away Rameswaram fishermen

Aug 25 (TOI) Sri Lankan navy attacked and chased away a group of Rameswaram fishermen who were fishing in the territorial waters of the island nation on Monday night. Around 400 fishing boats sailed from Rameswaram on Monday morning. Sri Lankan navy intercepted around 50 fishing boats in the Palk Strait and damaged their nets. The fishermen said the Sri Lankan navy used water scooters to intercept the boats. Navy personnel allegedly beat up around 15 of fishermen. more..

Sobitha Thera blasts move to form jumbo Cabinet

Aug 25 (DM) NMSJ Leader Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera today severely criticized the move to appoint a large number of ministers for the purpose of accommodating a National Govt. “Appointing a large number of ministers has become a joke and a farce. The Rajapaksa govt had appointed an unreasonable number of ministers. Nobody protested then. I am optimistic that President Sirisena will not continue the mistakes committed by that regime,” more..

EPRLF opposes TNA National List appointments

Aug 25 (AM) EPRLF, a constituent member of the TNA opposed the manner in which the alliance appointed its two national list candidates. The EPRLF leader Suresh Premachandran said that the ITAK leadership made the decision without consulting the other parties in the alliance. He said that he does not have a personal opposition against any of the appointed MPs. However, he cannot approve the procedure through which they were appointed, he said. Since TNA is not a registered political party, more..

CPJ welcomes arrests over SL journalist’s disappearance

Aug 25 (PA) New York-based Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ) has appreciated Colombo for arresting five army officers and two civilians in connection with disappearance of a journalist in 2010. Prageeth Eknelygoda, a political cartoonist and columnist, went missing days before the 2010 presidential elections, especially after reporting on alleged corruption among family members of former president Rajapaksa. The arrests come following a pledge by current president more..