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Drug convict who left Sri Lanka during trial remanded

Aug 29 (Island) Colombo High Court Judges Manilal Waidyatillake remanded till Sept 18, 2015, a woman who had left the country while the trial was pending without getting permission from Court. She had been indicted with possessing 13.7 grams of heroin. The accused has been convicted of the offence of possession of narcotics and sentenced to life. She had returned to the country after ten years. The police arrested her on arrival and produced her before the High Court. more..

Smaller parties in UPFA plan new Alliance

Aug 29 (CT) Several political parties and organizations connected to the UPFA have opened discussions to establish a new political alliance targeting the upcoming Local Govt Elections. Leader of the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya and UPFA Colombo District MP Udaya Gammanpila told Ceylon Today that discussions are underway regarding the Constitution of this alliance and its objectives. He said a powerful political figure is tipped to be the leader of this alliance. more..

ITAK wants Opposition Leader post

Aug 29 (AD) ITAK said that the party’s Parliamentary Group Leader must thus be recognized as the Leader of the Opposition in accordance with Parliamentary practice and convention as they have now emerged as the largest political party in Opposition in Parliament. Tamil party pointed out that following the General Election the UNP emerged as the party with the largest number of seats while UPFA obtained more..

Disciplinary inquiry against Vidura: Could lose seat in Parliament

Aug 29 (CT) SLFP has decided to hold a disciplinary inquiry within the next few days against SLFP MP-elect Vidura Wickremanayake. A disciplinary inquiry will be carried out into Wickremanayake's actions under the decision taken by the party to hold further disciplinary inquiries into 10 MPs of the SLFP who have been accused of acting against the decisions of the party and issuing of media statements criticizing agreements reached by the party as well. Wickremanayake has been accused of criticizing more..

Sri Lankan dies in NZ car crash

Aug 29 (NZH) Police have named the man who died in a two-car crash near Riversdale in Southland this morning. He was 44-year-old Pradeep Edirisinghe of Sri Lanka. Police said Mr Edirisinghe, who died at the scene of the crash, had been working on a dairy farm and living in the Riversdale community. The two-vehicle crash occurred on the Riversdale Waikaia Rd and Two Chain Rd intersection about 9.30am. The road was closed for four hours as police conducted a scene examination with more..

Police complain former Dy Justice Minister a law unto himself

Aug 29 (Island) Former Deputy Minister and MP elect Sujeewa Serasinghe did not appear before the Homagama Magistrate for the third consecutive time on Aug 26, even after the latter was issued notice to appear for threatening a police sergeant at Athurugiriya prior to the recently concluded Polls. Senasighe had been charged for several offences in the same incident such as obstructing the duty of a police officer, violation of election law, more..

Three Constitutional amendments soon

Aug 29 (CT) Three Amendments to the Constitution are scheduled to be tabled in Parliament within the next six months, including the 20th Amendment, to reform the electoral system, an amendment to further reduce executive powers, to strengthen good governance and devolution of power, government sources said. The source added that since various groups in Parliament have different points of view on amendments to the Constitution, the amendments will be tabled as three separate amendments more..

Ex- CMC health chief not deterred by polls defeat

Aug 29 (Island) Former Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam, who contested the August 17 General elections, said he was planning to contesting the forthcoming local govt election from a major party. Dr. Kariyawasam contested from the Independent Group 09 campaigning as Clean and Competent Candidates’ under the electric torch symbol. The group won just 149 votes. He said there had been 36 groups contesting from the Colombo District. more..

Pujara's fighting ton holds India together

Aug 29 (CI) Cheteshwar Pujara, previously out of the side to presumably accommodate a more forceful batsman and an extra bowler, scored his first Test century since the last month of 2013 to deny Sri Lanka clear advantage in the rain-hit SSC Test. He was helped along by Amit Mishra's third Test fifty, an enterprising effort, to rescue India after Dhammika Prasad had reduced India to 180 for 7. more..

Pujara's Asia average; Prasad's home run

Aug 29 (CI) 83.17: Cheteshwar Pujara's Test average in Asia; in 22 innings he has six hundreds and three fifties. Among batsmen who've scored at least 1000 runs in Asia since 2010, only two batsmen - Hashim Amla and VVS Laxman - have a higher average. 104: The partnership between Pujara and Mishra, India's highest for the eighth wicket against Sri Lanka, and also the highest for the eighth wicket by any team at the SSC. The partnership was also by far the highest stand more..

School third term begins on Monday

Aug 29 (Island) The third term of govt schools except those used for GCE A/L and Grade V scholarship exams answer script evaluation will commence on Monday. Additional Secretary of the Education Ministry said that eight schools were being used for the first stage answer script evaluation and 21 schools for marking Grade V scholarship exam answer scripts. The third term in those eight schools would begin on Sep. 29 while the 21 schools will start on Sept. 15. more..

Tamils firm on demand for international inquiry: TNA

Aug 29 (ENS) A senior leader of TNA has said that the Tamils will keep pressing for an international probe into charges of war crimes against the SL govt even though the US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Nisha Biswal, has made it clear that the US will only seek an independent and credible Lankan domestic probe. “Just as the SL govt has an agenda which it will press, we Tamils also have an agenda, which we will press,” more..

Sirisena era in SLFP, Rajapaksa sidelined

Aug 29 (ENS) Seven months after he was made de jure Chairman of SLFP, the main constituent of opposition UPFA, President Sirisena became its de facto head on Friday. Group headed by former President Rajapaksa was reduced to a rump when the SLFP Central Committee unanimously decided to give Sirisena full authority to decide on the nature of the party’s participation in the National Govt; who all will take ministerial portfolios and who will be the Leader of the Opposition. more..

Code of ethics for Sri Lankan car importers

Aug 29 (EN) Sri Lankan importers of new vehicles have introduced a code of conduct to prevent malpractices that could tarnish their reputation and ensure they have more credibility. Code was launched at 95th AGM of Ceylon Motor Traders’ Association representing franchise holders of foreign vehicle brands. “We plan to extend the code of ethics launched today so that we gain and maintain respectability and credibility of our membership,” Gihan Pilapitiya, chairman of the CMTA, said. more..

US falls in line with India on Sri Lanka war crimes probe

Aug 29 (ENS) United States appears to have fallen in line with India’s consistent position that charges of war crimes and human rights violations relating to Sri Lanka are best investigated by an independent and credible domestic mechanism rather than an intrusive international mechanism, threatening its sovereignty. The US, which had made the UNHRC pass a resolution calling for an int'l investigation more..

Final Randoli Perahera of Kandy, today

Aug 29 (GDI) Final Randoli perahera of the Kandy Esala festival will parades the street tonight. The Maha Randoli Perahara is the last Procession. It is the grandest event of the festival. The Tuskers come with garlands and decorated with ceremonial costumes. The Diyawadana Nilame adds a novel glamour to the procession by wearing newly stitched costume. Today, Perahera will start from the Dalada Maligawa at 07.59 p.m. facing north and proceed along Dalada Veediya, more..

PNB catches 34 kilos of wallapatta and six suspects, including two Chinese

Aug 29 (Island) Sleuths of the Police Narcotics Bureau nabbed six suspects including two Chinese nationals engaged in smuggling out Wallapatta. Police have taken into custody 34 kilos of Wallapatta and three million rupees from their possession. The PNB officials on duty at Jaya Road in Wellawatte, acting on a tip-off intercepted a car and recovered nine kilos of wallapatta being transported by two of the suspects. Based on information elicited from the suspects, more..

Sri Lanka petrol sales on high gear, diesel volumes collapse

Aug 29 (EN) Sri Lanka's petrol sales rose 16.4% or 34,000 metric tonnes to 309,000 metric tonnes in the first four months of 2015, following price cuts, while diesel sales collapsed by 173,000 metric tonnes as hydro power generation picked up, official data showed. In the month of April alone petrol sales rose 20.3% of 14,000 metric tonnes to 84,000 metric tonnes. In 2013 amid slow economic activity and a credit slowdown petrol sales slumped 16.2% more..

Rajapaksa allies to form new Sri Lanka opposition alliance

Aug 29 (PTI) Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s allies are planning to form a new opposition alliance, breaking away from President Maithripala Sirisena’s UPFA coalition, senior leftist leaders said on Saturday. “We are looking to form a new political front. We are having talks with different groups,” Tissa Vitharana of the Trotskyist Lanka Samasamaja Party (LSSP) said. Vitharana was a senior minister under Rajapaksa in his near decade-old regime which ended in January. more..

Prasad confident of getting remaining Indian wickets cheaply

Aug 29 (PTI) Notwithstanding India's dogged fightback after losing a flurry of wickets, pacer Dhammika Prasad today said Sri Lanka can claw back into the game as the nature of the wicket was changing and it was not as bowler friendly at the start of the Test. Riding on Pujara's unbeaten 135, India closed Day 2 on 292 for eight with lot of time lost due to rain interruptions -- only 15 overs were possible on the opening day. Dhammika, who has picked up four wickets so far, more..

Strict laws to stop use of polythene and Asbestos: President

Aug 29 (PTI) President Sirisena says he would enforce strict laws from Jan 1, 2016 to prevent use of polythene which is a major threat to the environment and the health of the people. He added he would totally ban the production of polythene from Jan 1, 2018. The President made these remarks at a ceremony held today at the President’s House in Kandy to present certificates to the school children in Kandy District for the environmental service program. more..

War crimes and national reconciliation

Aug 30 (SO) War crimes is the buzz phrase that has been bandied about ever since the Tamil secessionist insurgency was militarily crushed in 2009 amid accusations of widespread abuse of human rights, especially the possible killing of thousands of civilians due to indiscriminate - or, at least, poorly controlled - firing in the battle zone. During that time in 2009, the political repression in Sri Lanka was so strong that no one dared discuss this issue in public - such was the fear that more..

Fallout of US-Sri Lanka rapprochement

Aug 30 (SL) Stand not too close to the rich man lest he grabs thee and not too far away lest he forgets thee’ is the pragmatic maxim practiced by nations living in the shadows of big powers although the policy is not articulated in such terms. Sri Lanka is far away from the US and the West, yet it could be said that we are in the shadows of these powerful nations and its allies even in the region. Good relations with the United States and its Western allies pay dividends. more..

'National govt is best option for the country'

Aug 30 (SL) Deputy Secretary General of the SLMC and Mayor of Kalmunai, Nizam Kariapper said that forming a national govt is the best option especially in terms of carrying forward the mandate given by people for good governance at the Presidential Election in January. Failing to reach consensus of all SLFPers, he suggested that the second best option would be to form a semi-national govt with a substantial part of the SLFP. more..

The National List abomination

Aug 30 (Island) Memories in this country of ours are remarkably short and it will not be long before President Sirisena’s indefensible act of loading the UPFA national list with seven defeated candidates is forgotten. Some of those unworthies admitted to parliament through the back door will undoubtedly be elevated to cabinet rank. Unless they look up and spit from those exalted positions, as Minister S.B. Dissanayake did in the Higher Education Ministry alienating the academic community more..

Prime Ministerial Headaches

Aug 30 (NS) This should have been easy. It has been easy all these years. Hold election, release results, count numbers, pick the leader of the party which returned the most candidates to Parliament and appoint him/her as PM. Then Parliament convenes, the Speaker is elected, the Leader of the Opposition is selected and Cabinet is appointed. Seems pretty straightforward. It seems easy because not only does the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) have 106 seats, more..

'We will support UNP to form a stable govt'

Aug 30 (SL) TNA MP elect, M.A. Sumanthiran said that TNA has not changed their position on the demand for a federal form of governance. It is also noteworthy that the TNA, a party at times defined as a male chauvinist political party has allocated one slot out of their two slots in the national list to a woman whereas some other major political parties have simply ignored creating room for a single female nominee in their NL. more..

Cohabitation with bad-fellows

Aug 30 (ST) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe must surely be thinking to himself why on earth he suggested a National Govt given the way we understand he has had to fight tooth and nail to have his party-men slotted into key Cabinet posts. Undercurrents of Cabinet-forming under the MoU with the SLFP seemed daunting. He could have probably run the Govt with the seats his party received at the general elections, but the noble yet challenging goal of aiming for magic 150 seats to garner a 2/3 more..

UNP hamstrung by presidential interference

Aug 30 (Island) We are now nearing the end of the second week after the parliamentary election with no cabinet of ministers. UNP chairman Malik Samarawickrema announced September 2 as the date on which the cabinet may be sworn in and SLFP general secretary Duminda Dissanayake said that September 4 would be the likelier date due to many reasons such as the intervening SLFP anniversary celebrations. These dates are being announced unilaterally by the two sides. more..

'Opposition leader will most probably be an SLFP MP'

Aug 30 (ST) SLFP national list nominee Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena who is in the pro-Sirisena group said that the current state of confusion is only due to a small faction of the SLFP who propagated the Mahinda Wind (Mahinda Sulanga) at the election – yet that will not affect the party’s stance in parliament. Q: What are the major concerns of the SLFP that has delayed the process of forming a national govt with the UNP? more..

MR’s nightmare: Blues are waking up with the winner

Aug 30 (ST) My dear Mahinda maama, I thought I should write to you because very few people must be writing to you these days now that the elections are over and no one is talking about Mahinda samaga negitimu (waking up with Mahinda) anymore. This must have come as quite a shock to you and we are all sorry about that. It all started to go wrong for you when you decided to call for elections two years earlier than when it was due. They say Sumaney advised you to do so but more..

A potholed road towards a national govt

Aug 30 (SL) The Maithripala Sirisena-Ranil Wickremesinghe national govt is experiencing its initial teething problems. These problems range from the number of members in the next Cabinet to the distribution of portfolios between the UNP and the SLFP. However, the UNP and the SLFP are to hold a decisive meeting tomorrow morning to finalize the structure of the national government and to issue a joint public statement. Fingers are crossed on the outcome of the meeting. more..

'UNP is capable of forming a govt on its own'

Aug 30 (SL) Deputy General Secretary of UNP, and MP elect Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said that there is no rush to form a national govt as long as the outcome is positive. However, he added that failing to reach a consensus with the SLFP, the UNP has the capacity to form a govt on its own. Kariyawasam nevertheless failed to mention the concerns raised by the SLFP regarding the MoU signed by the two parties and as to how they more..

Sinhala booklet on anti-doping sees the light of day

Aug 30 (ST) A long overdue initiative that should have been made by the country’s sports hierarchy has now become a reality finally courtesy of the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU). Headed by the forward-thinking Nazeem Mohamed the WPRFU launched the booklet on anti doping; Sri Lanka’s first ever on such an important subject translated into Sinhala. “This is a project that we kicked off last year. It was not an easy task; the whole project took a long process. more..

UPFA politics in confusion; Ranil plays with patience

Aug 30 (CT) The delay on the part of UPFA to reach a consensus amongst them has delayed the formation of a Cabinet to establish a National Govt. President Sirisena seems not to rush, but play for time to put his house in order. Three UNP ministers namely Mangala Samaraweera, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and D.M. Swaminathan were sworn-in to meet international commitment of the country and the trio was scheduled to fly overseas to meet those engagements. more..

Pujara halts Lankan hopes

Aug 30 (ST) A painstaking century by Indian opening batsman Cheteshwar Pujara and a solid half century by leg spinner Amit Mishra saved the visitors some blushes while also giving some insights into a possible series win at the end of the second day of the third and final Test at the SSC yesterday. Mishra and Pujara added 104 runs for the eighth wicket and brought respectability into the Indian total.go more..

Hard bargaining over Cabinet portfolios

Aug 30 (SO) Aim for the moon and hit the stars was the SLFP’s rule when it negotiated for ministerial portfolios with the UNP to form a national unity govt. As soon as the party’s Central Committee gave its green light to form a national govt, the SLFP wanted 16 ministries out of 35. UNP, which secured 106 seats in Parliament, was expected to hold 19 ministries. However, as negotiations progressed, the total number of ministries saw an increase and it finally ended at 45. more..

French Fine Dining and a Passion for the Dining Experience comes to Sri Lanka

Aug 30 (Island) As patron of the elite dining club The Nth Degree, headquartered in London, Niranjan Deva Aditiya MEP (Nirj) has always felt particularly blessed. As the only dining club associated with the world’s leading chefs, Nirj has had the unique opportunity to mix with and observe the best of the best. As he explains - "I have always had a passion for food, and it is through my association with the Nth Degree, and its Chairman Mr Robert Walton MBE, that I have been able to immerse more..

Anxious Sri Lanka seeks IMF facility again to tackle BOP crisis

Aug 30 (ST) According to Finance Ministry data, trade deficit has widened by 15.6% to around $4 billion while exports eased 4.2%, year-on-year, to $944 million in June. Export revenue also fell by 0.6%. State foreign borrowings totalled $3.8 billion while local borrowings through Treasury bonds and bills rose to Rs. 661 billion compared to a total of Rs. 445 billion for the whole of 2014, the data showed. more..

Beijing heat will favour Niluka

Aug 30 (CT) After spending days of training here in Beijing, Marathoner Niluka Geethani Rajasekara will have her chance to shine in the Women's Marathon at the 15th IAAF World Championship which will be concluded today at the Bird's Nest, Beijing, China. Rajasekara who has a personal best of 2 hours 40 minutes and 07 seconds when she finished fifth in the last Asian Marathon Championship in Hong Kong, will be eyeing to compete with the world's best in her third outing at the marathon, more..