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Daybreak in Sri Lanka

Aug 31 (TS) For the first time since independence in 1948 the people of Sri Lanka have voted for a national govt in Colombo as opposed to the traditional UNP or SLFP led govts and ushered in a new dawn on 17 August, raising hopes of finding a lasting solution to the intractable ethnic crisis. The just concluded parliamentary election failed to give a clear verdict in favour of either the UNP or the SFLP, the two major political parties, but preferred a national govt by the two. more..

Hit and run vehicle kill leopardess in Yala

Aug 31 (DN) The carcass of a young female leopard was found inside the Yala National Park reportedly a victim of another hit and run tragedy. The authorities had received reports of several animals being killed by careless drivers transporting visitors on safari. Wild Life Department Director General H.D. Ratnayake said that the carcass of the three year-old leopardess was found yesterday with its spinal cord badly injured. He said the loss of a Leopardess would endanger the species more..

Thajudeen killing: 3 ex-PSD officers traced

Aug 31 (DN) Three ex-PSD officers - who have been identified by the CID as possible suspects of Wasim Thajudeen’s killing - will be arrested within the next two weeks. Meanwhile, a civilian, who is presently in London, has also been identified as a person who was aware of the conspiracy to kill Thajudeen. “There is no truth in the stories that the suspects have fled to Italy. Probably, they are referring to person who is presently in UK. more..

President's loyalists seek top portfolios

Aug 31 (CT) Sections of the SLFP have asked the President to give prominent ministerial portfolios to SLFP MPs who supported Sirisena during the presidential elections. In addition a number of MPs who supported Sirisena after the election were targeted by those supporting Mahinda Rajapaksa. Due to this, a number of SLFPers including Wijayamuni de Zoysa, S.B. Dissanayake, Mahinda Samarasinghe, Ranjith Siyambalapitiya who supported Sirisena either lost the election more..

48% reserves depreciation warrants rate hike

Aug 31 (CT) Inflation, growth, external sector developments and liquidity are the four variables that central banks look at in deciding a country's monetary policy outlook. In this context the local Central Bank (CB) is set to deliver this month's monetary policy outlook at 7.30 pm tonight. By now it would have had decided which route the island's monetary policy route should take. Nevertheless, with the possibility that the country's external reserves may have had been depreciated by more..

It's up to Mayadunne to decide: JVP

Aug 31 (DM) JVP said there was some doubt about former Auditor General Sarathchandra Mayadunne accepting his appointment to parliament from JVP national list after he expressed reservations about it. JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva said Mayadunne, though had not officially mentioned anything about it, appeared reluctant to work with those appointed to parliament by other political parties through their NLs. more..

Marathoner Niluka disappoints fans

Aug 31 (CT) Marathoner Niluka Rajasekara finished a disappointing 49th with a time of 2 hours 50:40 seconds in the women's marathon at the 15th IAAF World Championship concluded at the Bird's Nest, Beijing, yesterday. After much hype during recent times Niluka had clocked 2 hours 40:07 seconds to qualify for the World Championship, finished 10 minutes above that time, while 20 Asian athletes finished ahead of her. Niluka finished 5th in the last Asian Marathon C'ship in Hong Kong, more..

Karu tipped to be Speaker

Aug 31 (CT) The first session of the eighth Parliament will be inaugurated under the auspices of President Sirisena tomorrow where the govt's Manifesto will be presented. The first move in the Parliament tomorrow morning would be to appoint the Speaker of the House. Parliament Secretary Dammika Dassanayaka will read the President's instruction calling the inauguration of the Parliament. UNP sources revealed that Karu Jayasooriya is expected to be appointed as the Speaker. more..

Last ditch bid to reach consensus: President to meet UPFA constituents

Aug 31 (Island) President has called for a meeting with three UPFA constituents today to explore the possibility of reaching a consensus regarding their role before Parliament meets tomorrow. Presidential Secretariat has requested Ratnapura District MP-elect Vasudeva Nanayakkara (DLF), Colombo District MP-elect Dinesh Gunawardena (MEP) and Colombo District MP-elect Wimal Weerawansa (NFF) to meet President. more..

SLC to host u-19 one-day triangular with England, India

Aug 31 (NS) Sri Lanka Cricket has organized an under 19 one-day limited-over triangular with India and England in December in preparation for the ICC under 19 World Cup to be staged in Bangladesh from January 22 to February 14 next year. The tri-series starts on Dec 11 and ends with the final on Dec 21. The three teams will play each other twice in a round robin basis with the top two teams qualifying to play in the final. All the matches will be played in Colombo more..

Mahayana Sutra copper plate unearthed in Anuradhapura

Aug 31 (Island) Archaeologists excavating the ancient Vijayarama site in Anuradhapura last week discovered a copper plate with a Mahayana Sutra inscribed thereon. Director in charge of Central Cultural Fund’s Anuradhapura project, Prof. T. G. Kulathunga told The Island that the Sutra had been inscribed using Sinhala script on the copper plate of 2.5 inches in length and 1.25 inches in width. The inscription had been sent to the laboratories for further studies, he said. more..

Video: Ranil stops demolition of old buildings in City

Aug 31 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has ordered UDA to stop demolishing old buildings in Colombo City. Speaking to media after touring Colombo City said he had done so as the policy of new govt was to preserve the old buildings in Colombo and repair them while keeping them as they were. However, he said, opportunities would be given to investors to open new hotels in the city -- in keeping with the policy of President Sirisena. more..

Come September: It’s now or never

Aug 31 (DM) As we usher in a new month tomorrow, it will be a special September with a fully-fledged National Govt for the first time in Sri Lanka’s history -- hopefully laying the foundation for a new political culture and a homegrown democracy. Over the weekend, President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe – whom destiny has called upon to be the master builders of a new Sri Lanka – were finalising who should get what portfolio in the new National Govt. more..

A platform for young enthusiasts

Aug 31 (DM) The quest to recognise the Ten Outstanding Young Persons in Sri Lanka has commenced, providing a platform for the youth to showcase expertise in their respective fields. Launch of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons Award (TOYP) 2015 was officially announced at a press briefing held recently and it is an initiative by the Junior Chamber International SL (JCI Sri Lanka) which was launched in 1980 to recognise the talents and achievements of the youth in the island. more..

US begins operation to defend Sri Lanka

Aug 31 (SL) US last week set in motion an operation to seek support for Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva and the process will see heightened diplomatic activity as D-day nears for Sri Lanka at the Council. US Ambassador to Geneva Keith Harper informed UNHRC at its organisational meeting for the 30th session, that US, on behalf of a core group, plan to offer a resolution on SL to follow up on the new SL govt’s efforts to promote more..

Election of Speaker, ceremonial address by President among the highlights

Aug 31 (ST) The election of a new Speaker, a ceremonial address by President Maithripala Sirisena, the likely resignation of a newly appointed MP will be among the highlights of the first sitting of the Eighth Parliament of Sri Lanka on Tuesday. UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya is likely to be elected uncontested to the post of Speaker with his name proposed by the UNP and seconded by the SLFP, Parliament officials said. more..

State, Sri Lanka join hands to study Blue Mormon butterfly

Aug 31 (MD) Though Blue Mormon was declared the state butterfly in June, very little information is available about the winged insect. To overcome this hurdle, forest minister Sudhir Mungatiwar announced that his department would be collaborating with the Sri Lankan government to study the species in detail. The decision was taken at a recent meet between Mungantiwar & Sri Lankan ambassador Saroja Sirisena. more..

Three wheeler population tops one million

Aug 31 (EN) Sri Lanka's three wheeler population has topped one million in July 2015, the latest data shows with surge of imports driven by cheap credit and money printing by the Central Bank. Sri Lanka had 929,495 three wheelers registered by the end of 2014, according to data, with 79,038 vehicles being imported in that year. Up to July 2015, 73,805 three wheeler have been registered, data showed. more..

Karuna claims Prabhakaran shot himself

Aug 31 (CT) LTTE leader V Prabhakaran committed suicide by shooting himself while his wife and daughter were killed in a shell attack revealed former Deputy Minister V Muralitharan aka Karuna Amman to an Indian television network. He revealed that even though he had left the terrorist outfit several years ago he still admires Prabhakran as a respectable leader and said he was a very close associate of his. more..

Commission under fire for rejecting public petitions targeting corruption

Aug 31 (Island) A Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry investigating corruption has rejected several hundred complaints received from the public. The complaints which dealt with serious acts of fraud, corruption, as well as abuse of power, state resources and privileges during previous SLFP-led administrations had ended up in waste-paper basket, well informed sources said. Those who had complained to the Presidential Commission more..

UNHRC decision will be based on US resolution: FM

Aug 31 (Island) The Geneva-based UNHRC will decide future course of action on Sri Lanka on the basis of a US resolution scheduled to be moved at the 30th sessions next month. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mahishini Kolonne said that UNHRC would decide on the recommendations contained in a report submitted by the OHCHR through the passage of a resolution. Kolonne said: "This is not something new. more..

SLFP to help rectify anomalies

Aug 31 (DM) SLFP led by President Maitripala Sirisena has decided to look into the shortcomings that may arise in the demarcation of electoral wards for conducting elections to the local authorities, party officials said yesterday. The election to the local authorities will be conducted on a mix of the First Past the Post System and the Proportional Representation System according to a law enacted by the previous govt. more..

No offence transpired against KP: AG

Aug 31 (DM) The Attorney General today informed the Appeal Court that so far no offence has transpired against Kumaran Padmanadan (KP) in respect of the report examined by him on the writ petition filed by the JVP. The Attorney General (AG) further told Court that the AG’s Department is yet to examine other allegations levelled against KP and sought a further date to file a report. Accordingly, the writ petition was fixed for October 28 by more..

Video: President allows opposition to pick its leader

Aug 31 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena agreed to allow the opposition decide on the Parliamentary Opposition Leader, NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa said. He told this to media after the UPFA party leaders' meeting with the President. A section of the SLFP elected MPs and several other parties of the UPFA have already announced that they will sit in opposition in the next parliament. However, TNA demanded opposition leader more..

Why we need a separate local govt body to Sainthamaruthu

Aug 31 (CT) Sainthamaruthu that is located on the coastal belt of the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka has a long history. It is one of the olden villages in the province. Sainthamaruthu area prospered by the sea on the east and the agricultural tract on the west consisted of six divisions from KP 47 to KP 53 during the British rule. It was also a separate Village Council called Karavahu Village Council that was a separate self-administrative structure in 1928. After the enactment of Pradesiya Sabha Act more..

Sri Lanka's First female photojournalist, Yamuni Rashmika wins FNPAS Award

Aug 31 (GDI) Photojournalist Yamuni Rashmika Perera received the most prestigious FNPAS award during the inauguration of the 17th International Photography Exhibition at the National Art Gallery in Colombo. Rashmika Perera is the first female photographer in the photography history of Sri Lankato to obtain this award which is being awarded only to three awardees per year, on the approval of the International Federation of Photographic Art based in France. more..

Amputee among new entrants to be sworn in as MPs on Tuesday

Aug 31 (ST) There are 63 new entrants to Parliament this year, among whom is Shanthi Sriskandarajah, a knee-down amputee of a leg, a National List MP of the TNA. She, along with an interesting array of new legislators, will on Tuesday be sworn in as Members of the 8th Parliament of SL. Ms Sriskandarajah, a govt servant, who was Deputy Director -Planning at Turukkali in Wanni District, more..

Shares slip ahead of Central Bank policy move

Aug 31 (Reuters) Shares snapped three straight sessions of gains to end lower on Monday as investors booked profits and waited for cues from the central bank's August monetary policy meeting later in the day. The Central Bank is expected to keep its policy rates unchanged at record lows at the policy meeting, a Reuters poll showed. The country's main stock index ended 0.59% lower, or down 43.58 points, at 7,306.94, not far off its lowest close since July 23 hit last Tuesday. more..

Ex-President scotches rumours about Chamal getting high post

Aug 31 (Island) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said rumours that his brother and former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa would be appointed the Opposition Leader or a Minister were baseless. "After hearing it I inquired from the former Speaker whether it was true and he answered in the negative," the former President said. Asked to comment on the situation of the SLFP, Rajapaksa said it was embroiled in a severe crisis. "We are watching the situation." more..

Australia supports govt’s democratic reform

Aug 31 (CG) Australian High Commissioner, Robyn Mudie, said that Australia supported the govt’s democratic reform and good governance agenda and would continue to encourage the Sri Lankan govt to maintain its commitment to this agenda, to the improvement of human rights, to meaningful progress on reconciliation, including accountability, and to continued engagement with all relevant stakeholders, including the diaspora. more..

A house with a unity govt!

Aug 31 (CT) Sri Lanka's 15th Parliament, since polls to the island's first Parliament was held in 1947, opens tomorrow. Some say that the new Parliament, based on the Second Republican Constitution of 1978, is the country's 8th Parliament. Such debate as to whether it's the 15th or 8th Parliament may be but academic. Nonetheless, there are five unique situations that will have risen vis-à-vis Sri Lanka's 15th Parliament. One of those is that in Sri Lanka's 68 year old parliamentary history, more..

Saudi fire: Embassy checking on casualties

Aug 31 (DM) Officials of the Sri Lankan Embassy in Saudi have been directed to check whether any Sri Lankan employees had been affected by the fire which engulfed the Aramco Oil Company’s residential complex, Foreign Employment Bureau (FEB) said. The fire is reported to have killed at least eleven people and injured 206. FEB Deputy General Manager Mangala Randeniya said the officials are facing difficulties in getting there because the fire had led to the closure of several roads more..

Diplomatic corps briefed on Ekneligoda case

Aug 31 (Island) Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said that as much as the govt needed invaluable support of the international community in terms of technical expertise in the setting up of domestic mechanisms and assistance for peacebuilding related efforts such as resettlement, infrastructure development, and providing psycho-social support, the administration was of the opinion the time has now come to focus on more..

FUTA forward with new leadership

Aug 31 (LT) New office bearers were elected at the Annual General meeting of the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) held yesterday says the Media Coordinator for FUTA Dr. Hiniduma Sunil Senevi. Dr. Primal Fernando was elected the new President and Dr. E.W. Wijeratna is the new Secretary. The Vice-Presidents elected are Dr. U. Anura Kumara, Dr. S. Ariwalsan, Dr. Rangika Halwathura, Dr. S. Bannahaka and Senior Lecturer Darshana Liyanage. more..

Sri Lanka: Rajapaksa foiled again

Aug 31 (TD) Sri Lankan voters have snubbed former President Mahinda Rajapaksa for the second time in months. On January 8, Rajapaksa was ousted from power in the presidential election, an upset that denied him a third term as the island’s president. And now, in parliamentary elections held earlier this month, voters have quashed his hopes of returning to power as prime minister. Although voters gave neither of the two main coalitions, UNP-led UNFGG and SLFP-led UPFA, an outright majority, more..

Sri Lanka inflation negative in August

Aug 31 (EN) Sri Lanka's consumer prices fell 0.2% in August 2015 from a year earlier, with prices falling 0.5% during the month. The Colombo Consumer Price Index fell 0.9 points in August to 181.9 points with the non-alcoholic food sub-index dropping but non-foods rising. Overall consumer prices have deflated for the second month in a row. External inflation has been benign with a rising US dollars pushing down imported and more..

Women in estate TUs not empowered

Aug 31 (CT) General Secretary of the People's Workers Union (PWU) said women in the estate and plantation sector trade unions, particularly in the tea industry, were not empowered through proper education and training to take up leadership and participate in policy and decision making. PWU General Secretary Eliyathamby Thambiah said women were the majority force playing the leading role in most aspects of production like tea picking, weighing and measuring. more..

Environmental Conservation: Action plan focuses on three key areas

Aug 31 (DN) A National Action Plan for Environmental Conservation formulated with the consultation of stakeholders was handed over to President Sirisena, Environment State Ministry Secretary Vajira Narampanawa said. President would present the Action Plan for approval of the new Cabinet of Ministers shortly. Narampanawa said the Action Plan has given prime concern on three key areas as environmental pollution, forest cover depletion & soil erosion. more..

'SLFP’s failure to introduce reforms in advance led to defeat'

Aug 31 (Island) NFF leader and MP-elect Wimal Weerawansa says former President Mahinda Rajapaksa could have emerged victorious at the January presidential polls had he implemented constitutional, electoral as well as other reform proposals to change the direction of the country. Weerawansa said that the NFF forwarded a series of proposals to then President Rajapaksa after having adopted them at it's more..

Speaker will decide on Opp. Leader: UNP

Aug 31 (DM) It is the speaker who has the power to decide who would be the Leader of the Opposition in the new Parliament, a UNP MP said. UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella, who is tipped to be the Leader of the House, said that Speaker has the power to decide who the Leader of the Opposition would be as per the Parliamentary procedure. He was referring to the report which said President Sirisena had agreed to allow the opposition MPs to decide on the Leader of the Opposition. more..