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Finance ministry split again, key cabinet posts to opposition: report

Aug 30 (EN) UNP is likely to concede key ministries to the opposition in a national unity cabinet, with the finance ministry split further and national list appointees getting key cabinet ministries. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe will continue to hold the subjects of Policy Planning and External Resource with the finance ministry with key revenue agencies going Ravi Karunanayake. The foreign, justice and resettlement ministers more..

SC calls for IGP’s report on Dep. Ministers petition by Aug. 31

Aug 30 (Island) SC directed the Registrar of the Court to call for a report from the IGP on what steps the police had taken regarding a complaint lodged by Deputy Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe regarding the conduct of a Sergeant of the Athurugiriya Police in the run-up to the last general election. Senasinghe has refuted the policeman’s allegation that he (Senasinghe) had obstructed sergeant from properly performing his duty and had exerted pressure on him in that regard. more..

Good governance activist calls for Ministerial Code

Aug 30 (Island) Good governance activist Chandra Jayaratne, former Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and retired business leader, last week wrote to President Maithripala Sirisena calling for the cabinet to adopt a Ministerial Code as a demonstration of its commitment to good governance. He said in his letter copied to the prime minister that the new coalition govt due to meet for the first time later this week under the president’s leadership and the direction and more..

Probe report faults former Minister Sarath Gunaratne

Aug 30 (SO) Several key politicians are likely to be charged for misappropriation of public funds when the first investigations report by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing Serious Acts of Fraud, Corruption and Abuse of Power, State Resources and Privileges, is handed over to the AG's Department. Commission Secretary Lacille de Silva said, investigations into allegations of embezzlement of State funds by more..

'No end to mudslinging against JVP'

Aug 30 (LT) General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva says certain websites are taking steps to carry on a campaign to spread false notion against the JVP stating that Mr. Dougles Devananda’s media secretary S. Edirisinghe had written a letter to JVP Leader Anura Disanayaka regarding a news item connecting Mr. Devananda with the disappearance or murder of Mr. Prageeth Eknaligoda published in a Tamil website. Mr. Tilvin Silva speaking regarding the relevant news item said, more..

Oppon. must select opposition leader: Wimal

Aug 30 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena should not appoint the Opposition Leader but it should be based on the consent of the majority of opposition MPs so that the opposition could function in a proper manner, NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa said today. He told the media that if the President appointed a MP of his choice to the post of Opposition Leader, it would be the beginning of President Sirisena acting as a dictator. “People accused former president Rajapaksa more..

Vaiko, Ramadoss oppose India gifting away ship to Sri Lanka

Aug 30 (PTI) Opposing the gifting away of a Indian Coast Guard ship to Sri Lanka, MDMK chief Vaiko today said it was a betrayal of Eelam Tamils and Tamil Nadu fishermen. Indian Coast Guard Ship Varaha was gited to Sri Lanka on Aug 27 in Colombo. The ship was in the service of the island nation since 2006 and it was rechristened Sagara by Sri Lanka. It was formally handed over at a ceremonial function in the presence of more..

Ceylon Tea Brokers maintain even keel in a challenging year

Aug 30 (Island) Ceylon Tea Brokers, with a 10.23% share of the country’s tea broking business, has seen revenue up to Rs.278.26 million from Rs. 259.19 million a year earlier but seen its profit after tax marginally down to Rs. 54.7 million from the previous year’s Rs. 56.2 million. The Company’s Chairman, Mr. Chrisantha Perera noted in its just released Annual Report that tea production last year was marginally down to 338 million kilos from the previous year’s 340 million kilos. more..

Australian naval ship HMAS Melbourne arrives on goodwill visit

Aug 30 (SLN) Australian Naval Ship HMAS Melbourne arrived at the port of Colombo on 29th August 2015 on a goodwill visit. It was ceremonially welcomed by the Sri Lanka Navy in accordance with naval traditions on arrival. Commanding Officer of the ship, Commander Bill Waters paid a courtesy call on Commander Western Naval Area, Rear Admiral Dayananda Nanayakkara at the Western Naval Command Headquarters in Colombo. They held cordial discussions and exchanged more..

Prasad's spell and zest add spark to frustrating Test

Aug 30 (CI) By his fourth over of the morning, Dhammika Prasad had had enough. This pitch at his home ground had turned up green on match day, so as far as he was concerned, this was his party. The India top order were not taking his hint that he wanted them to leave. All innings long he had zipped balls past both edges, struck front and back pads, and generally had batsmen poking, lunging and spasming at the crease. more..

No Sri Lankans injured in Thai bomb blast

Aug 30 (CT) Thai Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Island Nopporn Adchariyavanich told Ceylon Today that Sri Lankans touring Thailand should not have any fear due to the bomb explosion which took place in Bangkok in Thailand recently and that the security of all tourists arriving in the country has been guaranteed. Adchariyavanich said that the govt of Thailand and the country's security forces succeeded in controlling the situation a few hours subsequent to the incident and more..

Push to repeal PTA

Aug 30 (SL) Leader of the DPF and UNP MP Mano Ganeshan has questioned why the new govt, in its way forward towards good governance, cannot repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) on a priority basis. Ganeshan, who was demanding for the abolition of this Act even during Rajapaksa administration, said he is surprised as to why the senior UNP leaders are now preferred to introduce the Right to Information Bill claiming that abolishing PTA is not an urgent matter. more..

TNPF for Two-Nations in One Country

Aug 30 (CG) Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) led by Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam says it stands for a solution based on Two-Nations in One Country in order to resolve the issues faced by the Tamils. In a statement with regards to the position of the TNPF on the political solution and on accountability, Ponnambalam said the TNPF stands for a solution where Sri Lanka is recognized as a country which comprises of more..

Sun shines directly above SL till 7th of Sept

Aug 30 (GDI) On the apparent southward relative motion of the sun, it is going to be directly over the latitudes of Sri Lanka during 28th of August and 07th of September in this year, Met. dept. says. The nearest towns of Sri Lanka over which the sun is overhead today are Talaimannar pier, IIupaikkadavai and Periyanmadu about 12.12 noon. There will be several spells of showers in the Western, Sabaragamuwa and central provinces and in the Galle and Matara districts. more..

Interim Report not yet ready

Aug 30 (SL) The second interim report of the Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons was not ready to be handed over to the President last Friday. Last week the media expected the final report on the second mandate of the commission related to the international human rights and humanitarian laws to be handed over to President. However, Chairman of the Commission Maxwell Paranagama said that Commission has not finalised the report yet. more..

Key reports ready before UNHRC sessions

Aug 30 (SL) Reports pertaining to the investigations on at least three major incidents are expected to be ready before the UNHRC begins meeting in Geneva next month. Sources said that investigations into the murder of Sunday Leader founding editor Lasantha Wickremetunge, the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda and the murder of former national rugby player Wasim Thajudeen have gathered pace. more..

Flood-hit irrigation tanks renovation begins

Aug 31 (DN) Flood-hit small tanks in Anuradhapura district are being renovated before the Maha season rains in mid September. Around 300 minor irrigation tanks were severely damaged during the floods at the end of 2014 and their restoration work were delayed due to lack of financial allocations and the declaration of general elections. Under an accelerated renovation programme to restore damaged tanks, commissioned the construction work of Kattamurichchana & Orukmankulama more..

Import of Ceylon tea by China, India soars

Aug 31 (FT) Import of Ceylon tea by China and India from Sri Lanka has risen sharply in the first seven months of this year despite overall exports have declined. China’s imports amounted to 4.3 million kilos, up from 2.9 million kilos a year earlier. Imports by India have jumped from 0.38 million kilos to 3.23 million kilos in the first seven months. Sharp rise in imports by China has now placed the country as the 11th biggest source and India within top 20. These two countries also figure among four markets more..

'Tamil question should be resolved in a just manner'

Aug 31 (SO) TNA which received an overwhelming mandate from the North-East Tamils in the Aug 17 general election, securing 16 seats, will work simultaneously to reach a political settlement to the Tamil national problem while addressing the daily needs of the people, M.A. Sumanthiran MP said. He said the TNA will seek maximum devolution of powers on par with a federal system of governance within a united SL by more..

Accountability is not limited to a majority-minority dynamic

Aug 31 (ST) With the Sept 2015 report of the UNHRC referencing war-time accountability of Sri Lanka’s political and military command looming nearer, the question which we need to ask is quite simple. As much as decades of politicized and bloodied elections were confounded by the conducting of an impeccable parliamentary election this month by Commissioner of Elections and state officers, can this country look deep into the trauma suffered by Tamil civilians during conflict, more..

How Rosy, Sanga faced presidential corker

Aug 31 (ST) For Rosy Senanayake, it was a consolation comforter to wipe dry her tear-dewed petals for failing to come up roses when she blotted her chance of bowling the public over at last week’s general elections. For Kumar Sangakkara it was a popular presidential tribute for hitting the peak of public applause with his winning willow in which the magic never slept. Both were public figures with an international profile. Both wore crowns; won for their respective roles. more..

'JSP will be the new JVP'

Aug 31 (CT) Former leader of JVP and current leader of JSP Somawansa Amarasinghe explained, the reasons behind his new reprisal in politics in the wake of quitting the JVP. According to him after several immature decisions by the leaders of the JVP he had foreseen the ultimate downfall of the party which had led to his resignation and the creation of his new party which according to him would fill the void of Leftist parties in SL. more..

Two or three things I know about my country

Aug 31 (NS) We’ve never really had a father. We like to think we did, of course, be it D.S. Senanayake, S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike or S.J.V. Chelvanayagam. But they never had a vision for Lanka that made sense, in the end. Unlike a Mahathir, Nehru or a Mandela, their vision was partisan, and the results plain to see. Senanayake’s great contribution was to disenfranchise the up country Tamils, and ignore the vernacular language question. more..

Just one more ministerial howler

Aug 31 (NS) Minister (political) Eran Wickramaratne (EW) on 19th or 20th Aug, in response to a Al Jazeera TV interview question on the plight of the Northern Tamils after the 2015 general elections, dismissively and off the well worn cuff said ’It was the Rajapaksa regime that waged war on the Tamils’ or words to that effect. This was the first time that the SL public has heard that it was the Rajapaksa regime alone that waged war on terrorists. Successive govts, starting with UNP in 1977, more..

TNA national list Shanthi recalls Vithya

Aug 31 (CT) TNA newly appointed National List female parliamentarian Shanthi Sriskandharaja contested on the ITAK ticket from the Vanni District in the general election, but was not elected. Sriskandaraja said she will speak on behalf of all women in the North in Parliament to ensure their safety. "We don't want another Vithya in Punguduthivu to be victimized. I feel there is less security for females in Northern Province," more..

On straight lines that curve & don’t exist

Aug 31 (CT) I came across an interesting conversation on Facebook recently. Two friends, each as committed to his political preferences as the other, were debating on the election. More specifically, they were debating on its racial implications and this in a way which would have raised eyebrows of those reading that debate. Not surprisingly, there were remarks made and exchanged about the majority-minority relationship in the country. more..

SLFP without minor parties is like rice without curry

Aug 31 (CT) There is a specific objective of introducing the National List in the Constitution of 1978. It is to get important people who are reluctant to contest elections involved in the policy formulation and law making process. Professionals, academics and leaders of insignificant communities such as Malays, Burghers, Vedda and disabled people belong to this category. It was never intended to be used as a shortcut or backchannel to bring defeated candidates to Parliament. more..

Will new Sri Lankan govt prioritize resettlement of war-displaced?

Aug 31 (IPS) New Sri Lankan govt that was voted in on Aug. 17 certainly didn’t inherit as much baggage as its predecessors did during the nearly 30 years of conflict that gripped this South Asian island nation. But six years into peacetime, the second parliament of President Sirisena will need to prioritize some of the most painful, unhealed wounds of war – among them, the fate of over 50,000 IDPs, some of whom more..

Of honouring Sanga and appointing envoys

Aug 31 (Island) Even before the heat of parliamentary elections have subsided and in less than a week of UNF for Good Governance being voted into office, we hear of the coveted position of our High Commissioner to the Court of St. James (UK) being first offered by the Prime Minister to Mrs Rosy Senanayake who did not make it to Parliament and then by the President to cricketing great Kumar Sangakkara who has just hung up his boots. At the outset, permit me to state I have nothing but more..

SL milk firm caught by pincer state controls

Aug 31 (EN) Sri Lanka's milk powder distribution is caught between high import taxes and price controls, despite plunging world prices, Lanka Milk Foods, a dairy company has said, in line with pincer controls seen in several other sectors. Global milk powder prices reached high levels two year ago amid but most food commodities including oil and metals are now falling as the US Federal Reserve has stopped excessive money printing and the dollar is going up. more..

Sri Lanka shoot themselves by shaking batting line-up

Aug 31 (CI) In the last match, a skilful batsman took leave of SL side. In the first innings at SSC, SL's batsmen took leave of their skill. This flaccid innings, this deflating circus tent of a collapse, deserves reliving. It needs to be savoured as much as any rollicking ton or enthralling spell because it was not just bad, it was so bad it was good. For so long outsiders had suggested SL's batting would be lost without Sanga/Mahela. more..

Pursuing accountability & strengthening the rule of law

Aug 31 (CT) After the surprising victory of opposition candidate Sirisena in Presidential election, Minister Samaraweera said that SL will create a domestic mechanism within two months to probe allegations of rights violations and bring perpetrators to justice. He called for UN report to be held back saying the UN findings could then be referred to the domestic mechanism for necessary action. “Unlike the previous govt we are not in a state of denial, saying that such violations have not happened. more..

Part IV: Would reconciliation process work in post-war Sri Lanka?

Aug 31 (IL) The restorative framework worked fine within the South African context as the theories have suggested, but the Sri Lankan leadership has not used the same method, even though such theories have produced a great sense of hope that might make T & R a success in Sri Lanka. But three years after the end of the war, the Sri Lankan govt has not yet engaged the affected communities in dialogue. Rather, the idea of a unitary system of govt in a multi-ethnic country is also seen as critical, more..

President receives Sannasa informing successful conclusion of Kandy Perahera

Aug 31 (GDI) The traditional ceremony to inform the Head of the State on the successful completion of the historic Esala Festival took place at the President's House in Kandy in the presence of President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday. Sannasa on the successful conclusion of the Perahera was handed over to President Sirisena by the Actg. Diyawadana Nilame of the Sri Dalada Maligawa Pradeep Nilanga Dela. more..

Used hybrid cars gain market share in SL

Aug 31 (EN) Sri Lankan importers of new vehicles have been losing market share to used hybrids, the head of the Ceylon Motor Traders’ Association said, where import taxes are lower than for cars with conventional engines. The new administration hiked taxes on all hybrid cars and lowered taxes on conventional small cars. Gihan Pilapitiya, chairman of the CMTA, said last year had been a good year for new car importers in terms of volumes which rose to 38,780 in 2014 from 28,380 in 2013. more..

Another bowling display of two halves

Aug 31 (CI) For all those who love cricket numerology, a special treat. Explain the co-relation between these figures: 108, 586; 123, 272; 154. A clue, then: these numbers belong to Wellington, Galle and Colombo. These numbers are from February 2014 onwards. In case you are interested, there are more of their kind going back several years, but this is the most recent lot. These happen to be the number of runs that India have conceded to their opposition's last five pairs, more..

Furore over Kuliyapitiya Volkswagen plant

Aug 31 (CT) A furore has erupted over the Ceylon Motor Traders' Association (CMTA) calling the govt for transparency and a revelation of all details regarding the manner in which the govt signed the agreement with global German based motoring giant Volkswagen to establish a manufacturing plant at Kuliyapitiya. CMTA, in a communiqué to Minister Kabir Hashim, has requested the govt to reveal comprehensive details about recently signed more..

US resumes good relations with Sri Lanka

Aug 31 (Island) In 1984, less than an year after the July ’83 crime in Lanka, which received widespread deserved condemnation in the world and within the US itself, President Reagan invited President JR Jayewardene as a guest of the State and hosted a banquet in his honour; such was the state of relations between our countries at that time; much credit should go to  our then Ambassador Ernest Corea who  safeguarded our relationship in an exceptional manner. more..

North-South SMEs to strengthen business and social links thro’ GIZ-CCC

Aug 31 (ST) GIZ SME Development Programme, together with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, will launch SME-ProLink: Unity Through Business, an initiative to link the Northern and Southern SMEs to strengthen business and social relationships and promote unity and harmony among communities. The programme will be held in Matara on September 29-30. The Deutsche Gesellschaft fÜr Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the chamber firmly believe that this initiative will create more..

Tamil parties turn down U.S. call for internal war crimes probe

Aug 31 (Hindu) Leaders representing three constituents of the TNA on Sunday rejected the stand of the U.S., which favoured a domestic investigation mechanism on alleged crimes during the final stages of the Eelam War. Leaders of TELO, EPRLF and PLOTE, who met for four hours in Colombo, felt that justice would be possible only through an international probe. M.K. Shivajilingam, TELO’s national organiser, said three parties more..