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The MR nomination saga

July 7 (SO) The much-talked-about meeting at the Medamulana residence to announce former President Rajapaksa’s entry into the electoral fray ended up as a disappointment for the pro-MR camp due to multiple reasons. The Medamulana meeting on July 1 was designed as the official launch of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s election campaign. A few days prior to meeting, stalwarts of Rajapaksa camp told more..

Back to a game of Russian Roulette

July 7 (SL) Independent of President Sirisena’s decision on fielding his one-time boss and predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa, as a nominee of the Opposition SLFP-UPFA combine the August 17,parliamentary polls promises to be yet another game of Russian roulette. The continuance of the proportionate representation (PR) poll scheme, combined with the continuing absence of an anti-defection law would mean that whoever becomes PM at the head of a coalition govt, more..

Ranil’s days – including 100 plus – are over

July 7 (CT) Ranil Wickremesinghe’s brief honeymoon with his protégé / protector, Maithripala Sirisena, has come to an unexpected and abrupt end. They were indispensable to each other during the 100 days which, of course, ran into six months, violating the mandate of Jan 8th, 2015. It was a symbiotic relationship in which the roles reversed between the two before and after the election. Before the presidential election of Jan 8th, 2015 Sirisena was dependent on Wickremesinghe. more..

For all the books you want and more

July 7 (ST) As a painfully shy child, books were the lifeline that I clung to. I acquired library memberships at four different libraries in Colombo and instead of integrating books into my life, rearranged my life around books. I would read in three-wheelers, furtively prop up fiction between the pages of textbooks in school and read by candle light during power-cuts. Armed with a seemingly unlimited appetite and limited pocket money, more..

Editorial: Poor frogs

July 7 (Island) Droughts cause untold suffering to humans and animals alike as is common knowledge. But, in India, frogs seem to suffer more than other creatures due to prolonged dry spells. They are caught and forcibly married there as rural Indians believe they can propitiate the weather gods and get rain that way. What wrong have the poor frogs done to deserve this kind of punishment? To be put in the straitjacket of marriage is no fun! Ask any polyamorous biped and he or she will more..

Women, be the change you want to see

July 7 (CT) Sri Lankan politics has always been male dominated. Despite having two female Heads of State, the male to female ratio reflects women in Parliament to be very low. For a long time Sri Lankan politics was dominated by influential and prestigious families. Thus it is no doubt that the two Heads of State, PM Sirima Bandaranaike, the wife of slain PM S.W.R.D Bandaranaike and their daughter President Chandrika Bandaranaike were propelled into politics principally due to more..

'BBS wants to become a decision-making political'

July 7 (FT) The Bodu Jana Peramuna will not support Mahinda Rajapaksa, stressed controversial Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara Thero. He said although they supported the former President during the last presidential election, the newly-launched BJP has no intention of backing him at the upcoming election. Q: Why did you decide to contest the election? A: We have formed a party with the intention of contesting any future election. more..

Gedera giyoth ambu nasee, Maga hitiyoth tho nasee

July 7 (CT) The long drawn crisis over Mahinda Rajapaksa getting nominations from the UPFA was put to rest last Friday with UPFA General Secretary, Susil Premjayantha issuing a statement that Mahinda was given UPFA nominations. A jubilant UPFA camp held a media conference at Narahenpita and thanked President Sirisena. An angry Premjayantha closed the doors to the media at SLFP headquarters stating what had to be told had been stated in the news release about more..

A ghost Constitutional Council?

July 7 (Island) A couple of days back, I was taken aback to hear a news bulletin announcing that the Constitutional Council (CC), had met and made certain decisions. Thoroughly disappointed that the Government could not at least, institute the CC before Parliament was dissolved, I had reconciled myself to the belief that a rejuvenated new Parliament would create a model CC soon after it came into existence. In my letter published in the Island of June 16, under the title, more..

Inexperienced SL loosen chokehold again

July 7 (CI) Sri Lanka, full of pep when they had Pakistan at 13 for 2, softened their grip and deflated like a party balloon for two sessions. They were flying around the room making rude noises towards stumps. Sri Lanka had dominated this match since day two. They could even have been looking at a four-day finish. But, as has been the case everywhere from Sharjah, to Lord's, to the Basin Reserve in January, and Galle more..

Masood makes opportunity count

July 7 (CI) In a time of never-ending transition, Pakistan keeps producing exceptional cricketing talent, except in one category - opening batsmen. But just when they seem to have settled on a reasonably settled combination at the top of the order - Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad average 51.14 as an opening pair - a third name has staked a powerful claim for a long-term berth with a match-turning and potentially match-winning century. more..

'SL miss Mahela, Sanga tactical brilliance'

July 7 (Island) It was a safe call that Sri Lanka had put the third Test and the series beyond Pakistan’s reach when they set the tourists a target of 377. No team had chased that much to win a Test Match in Sri Lanka while Pakistan’s highest run chase is 315 for nine against Australia in Karachi in 1994. However, Pakistan finished day four on 230 for two with Younis Khan and Shan Masood completing unbeaten centuries and with 147 required with eight wickets and a full day in hand, more..

Analysis of draft Interim COPE Report on Bond fiasco

July 7 (NS) The COPE, which investigated allegations into insider trading in the Treasury bond auction of 27 Feb 2015, has established that it is evident that the Primary Dealer, Perpetual Treasuries Limited and the Central Bank had a Related Party Transaction. The 18 page draft interim report states that the personal representations made before the Committee proved that Governor had visited Public Debt Dept more..

Mineka Wickramasingha – A legend in Sri Lanka’s biscuits, confectionery sector retires

July 7 (AD) At a recent Board meeting held on the 24 June 2015, after almost 48 years at the helm of the organization he founded in 1968 Mineka Wickramasingha retired from the position of Chairman of Ceylon Biscuits (CBL) group. The current Deputy Chairman, Ramya Wickramasingha was elected by the Board as the new Chairman of the Group. Mr Mineka Wickramasingha will continue to mentor the group in his new role as President Emeritus. more..

CICT becomes green port with US$ 10 m initiative

July 7 (DN) For the first time in the region, Colombo International Container Terminals, (CICT) has taken the initiative to provide leadership for the “green-port” concept, in the Colombo Port. With an initial capital expenditure of over US$ 10 million, this initiative taken by CICT has demonstrated their commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Colombo Port and the maritime industry as a whole. CICT is owned and managed by China Merchants Holdings International (CMHI), more..

WhatsApp reunion for Lankan refugee siblings after 36 yrs

July 7 (TOI) Separated by the unrest in Sri Lanka more than three decades ago, a 72-year-old refugee reunited with his 76-year-old sister on Friday in the city, thanks to social networking mobile application WhatsApp. Samuel, 72, and his elder sister Gnanapoo, 76, were residents of Kandy, before the ethnic war broke out in Sri Lanka. Gnanapoo migrated to Thoothukudi after her marriage way back in 1979. more..

CEB makes profits with better rainfall, coal power

July 7 (EN) State-run Ceylon Electricity Board has posted profits of 13.7 billion rupees in the first four months of 2015, with better rainfall driving up hydro generation and coal power also increasing its share. The generation cost had fallen to 12.53 rupees per unit (kiloWatt hour) in the first four months of the year from 20.15 rupees a year earlier. Hydro generation was up 27.6% and coal power was up 43.4%. Large hydro and Coal are among the cheapest sources of power. more..

Shantha Bandara scotches cross over reports

July 7 (CT) Former Deputy Minister of Mass Media and Communication Shantha Bandara denied news reports that he will be leaving the SLFP to join the UNP. Speaking at a media briefing held in Colombo he condemned the statement made by Minister Lakshman Kiriella, where he had stated that the former deputy minister will be joining the UNP in order to contest in the upcoming polls. "I have not discussed with anyone about leaving the SLFP to join UNP to contest under their ticket. more..

AG sanctions arrest of SC judge

July 7 (DN) The Attorney General has sanctioned the arrest of Justice Sarath De Abrew of the Supreme Court over the alleged assault and sexual harassment of the domestic helper at his residence. After carefully sifting through the evidence and medical reports of the domestic helper, the Attorney General had directed the CID to obtain a warrant of arrest from the Mt. Lavinia Magistrate, Hulftsdorp Hill sources said. more..

'Early queries deter improper stock trading'

July 7 (EN) Early queries about unusual trades from stock market participants by Sri Lanka’s the capital markets regulator has deterred improper behaviour, it said in a report. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said its Surveillance Committee summons minor offenders and subsequently warns them to refrain from engaging in improper trading practices in the future. A register is maintained whenever SEC Surveillance calls brokers or the Colombo Stock Exchange to more..

China to buy more from Sri Lanka

July 7 (DN) China is willing to purchase more Sri Lankan made products in the future, Chinese Embassy’s Deputy Mission Head Ren Faqiang said. He said that China and Sri Lanka have established a strategic cooperative partnership over the years and the Chinese government is fully committed to further enhancing trade and investment ties with Sri Lanka. “In order to reach Sri Lanka’s set economic targets, SL should focus on promoting and encouraging the manufacturing industry. more..

MR assembly bid from Kurunegala

July 7 (EN) Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa is due to contest the August parliamentary elections from the country's third largest district, Kurunegala where there is a strong concentration of military families. Former leader is hoping to become a candidate from the UPFA, but fears a legal challenge that could upset his plan. "For the moment, everything is ready for him to file nomination papers on Friday," more..

SriLankan Airlines, Airberlin and NIKI codeshare mulls boost in tourism

July 7 (Island) A new codeshare agreement between SriLankan Airlines, Airberlin the second largest airline in Germany and its subsidiary NIKI was announced on July 2, paving the way for increased tourism potential between Sri Lanka, Germany and Austria. The three airlines are set to offer daily codeshare flights between Berlin, Vienna and Sri Lanka via Abu Dhabi, which are now available for sale. Airberlin and NIKI will apply their flight numbers to SriLankan Airlines’ daily flights more..

Missing Dornier: Coast guard in touch with Sri Lanka

July 7 (GDI) Coast Guard authorities are in touch with Sri Lanka as part of their search efforts to locate the Dornier plane which went missing nearly a month ago, the mother of a missing crew member said in Chennai today. "Coast Guard chief Vice Admiral H C S Bisht has informed me that Sri Lankan authorities have been requested to alert India if they sight the aircraft or its crew," Padma Shankari, mother of Deputy Commandant Suresh Subash told PTI. more..

Granting MR nominations: ‘President Sirisena should come clear’

July 7 (DN) President Sirisena should make a clear statement on whether he has agreed to give nominations to former President Rajapaksa from the UPFA since the people have not been formally informed of the decision, Puravesi Balaya co-convener Saman Ratnapriya said. President Sirisena will be going against the public mandate he received at the Jan 8 polls, if he gives nominations to former President Rajapaksa more..

Somawansa vows to stop Rajapaksa from entering parliament

July 7 (Island) Ex-JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe said that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa would not be elected to parliament at the forthcoming general election and he would mobilise forces to thwart the former President’s attempts to enter Parliament. "Mahinda Rajapaksa receiving nomination to contest the next general election consequent to a similar plan by corrupt elements of the SLFP to make a comeback and that would lead to bloodletting," former JVP leader said. more..

TNA Casanova off the hook

July 7 (Island) No complaints had yet been made to the Mallawi police regarding a former TNA PS member, who is alleged to have had sexual relationships with dozens of women in the area, Police Media Unit said. Police, however, had been able to recover a video clip and some pictures of the said TNA PS member and also a statement from the husband of a woman who committed suicide in Feb 2015, fearing that the video clip would reveal her clandestine tryst with the politician. more..

July turns jittery

July 7 (FT) President Sirisena, beleaguered and facing strong criticism about his decision to grant nominations to his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa, has asked confidants for a 48-hour grace period ending tomorrow. President Sirisena, who has maintained a stony public silence on the issue of nominations for the defeated President, has sought privately to calm the fears of some of the leaders of opposition movement more..

Hakeem calls for urgent program to overcome garbage disposal obstacles

July 7 (FT) Since there have been many complains with regard to the problems arisen in the disposal of garbage in and around Colombo City, Minister Rauff Hakeem pointed out that a program should be brought underway with the assistance of the local govt authorities. A special discussion was held under the patronage of Hakeem at the at the Ministry to look into the problems and obstacles that has arisen with regard to the dump-yard in Meethotamulla. more..

Sri Lanka Tourism seeks top global ad agency for Rs. 200 m push

July 7 (DN) Sri Lanka Tourism announced the 200 million EOI to search for a top global Ad agency after a lapse of five years. This is in the back drop of winning a multitude of awards globally this year at many a Global Travel Fairs and visitor arrivals crossing 830,051 at a growth of 14.1% in the first half of 2015. At at now the Sri Lankan Tourism strategy has been essentially driven by a PUSH marketing strategy with initiatives in key markets such as B2B road shows with private sector, more..

President Sirisena’s position on Rajapaksa’s nomination remains unclear

July 7 (Hindu) There seems to be lack of clarity about President Maithripala Sirisena’s position on the SLFP-led UPFA’s move to provide former President Rajapaksa with a ticket to contest in the parliamentary polls. Ever since the UPFA general secretary Susil Premajayantha’s statement was made public on Friday last, announcing nomination of Mr. Rajapaksa, silence has been the response of the President. more..

UNP exposes MR’s Rs. 9.4 m unpaid 5-star breakfast bill

July 7 (FT) The UNP revealed that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s family had ordered breakfast worth Rs. 9.4 million from the Hilton and not paid the bill. Former UNP MP Nalin Bandara addressing the ‘expose’ media briefing at Sirikotha claimed that former Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga had signed this order instead of ex-President Rajapaksa. “Former President Rajapaksa and his family have spent Rs. 9,481,502 for a breakfast and they did not pay it back. more..

Attempt to drive MR away feared: Dispute over UPFA nominations persists

July 7 (Island) Rival factions within the UPFA had failed to iron out their differences and fresh problems had cropped up as regards nominations for the members of the coalition’s rebel faction loyal to former President Rajapaksa. Efforts were being made to deny the key members of the rebel faction nominations, sources said, alleging that a plot was being hatched to drive away Rajapaksa, thereby leaving him with no alternative but to field a separate team at the August 17 general election. more..

TNA not to allow ex-LTTE members to contest polls

July 7 (CT) TNA Leader R. Sampanthan said that he will not work with former LTTE cadres and implied that the party will not give nominations to former LTTE cadres. Speaking at the special meeting among the important leaders of the TNA and the former LTTE cadres in Vavuniya, Sampanthan further told the Crusaders for Democracy Party (CDP), led by former LTTE cadres that they will not be entertained in TNA. more..

Political atmosphere clouded in confusion

July 7 (DM) Confusion reigns over the political atmosphere these days with political parties doing one thing today while reversing it tomorrow. In the meantime there are signs of unexpected political alliances emerging not based on principles but with the sole intention of facing the August 17 parliamentary election. On June 30 the media carried a news item that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is to be given nomination to contest the election under the UPFA by the President more..

Rajapaksa’s political comeback: Some moral and practical questions

July 7 (DM) Now that the SLFP has decided to grant nomination to ex-President Rajapaksa to contest the forthcoming general elections, a sense of gloom has dawned on certain quarters of the public who genuinely loath the long-term effects of the ex-President’s political comeback. Such sentiments are quite understandable. A sizable portion of the total 6.2 million people who voted against the authoritarian ex-President now fear that he would roll back democratic reforms more..

'Mahinda Rajapaksa contesting General elections: A joke to think it’s a challenge'

July 7 (DM) Taking on the mantle of UNP General Secretary, after Tissa Attanayake; Kabir Hashim spoke of the crowds gathering around Maithripala Sirisena, the bond issue and discussions between the UNP and other parties, the Minister of Highways and Investment Promotion is to contest the general election from the Mawanella Electorate in the Kegalle District. Q: What are the UNP’s slogans for the general election? more..

Sigiriya frescoes under threat

July 7 (DM) Sigiriya which is one of the most valuable historical monuments of SL with locals referring to it as the Eighth Wonder of the World is under threat because of human activities. This ancient palace and fortress complex has significant archaeological importance and attracts thousands of tourists every year. Appearance of cracks on some of the frescoes, signals an imminent danger to this world heritage site. more..

MR’s Aide faces money laundering charges

July 7 (SL) CID files B report against Gamini Senarath at the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court. The Chief of Staff of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is to face legal action shortly for alleged money laundering, the CID said. Highly reliable sources at the CID said that the CID has filed a ‘B’ report in the Colombo Chief Magistrate Court against former president’s Chief of Staff, Gamini Senarath. more..

Helitours hit more storm clouds

July 7 (ST) Helitours, the Air Force’s domestic passenger carrier, could have been giving indemnity forms to paying customers for several reasons —including the fact that it often flew them on a Harbin Y-12 aircraft not cleared to transport civilians. Another reason could be that insurance policies taken out on any of the company’s airplanes had run out or did not cover its paying passengers. It was also possible that certain flights were more..