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Sri Lanka FACETS gem show to draw international buyers

July 9 (EN) Gem buyers from countries like China, India, Russia and the United states are expected in Sri Lanka in September to attend the island’s annual FACETS gem show, officials said. Held for the 25th year, the international gem and jewellery show during Sept 3-6 will have over 150 local and foreign exhibitors showcasing their gem and jewellery products. "FACETS 2015 plays a big role in making Colombo a regional gem and jewellery hub and Sri Lanka the sapphire capital of the world," more..

Video: UPFA raps Ranil's DEW drop

July 9 (DM) Two senior UPFA members today denounced Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s comments on COPE Chairman D.E.W Gunasekera. The response come following Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s charges on Tuesday that former Chairman of the COPE D.E.W. Gunasekera had violated the Parliamentary Privileges Act by commenting on the COPE report on Central Bank bond sale probe by COPE. more..

Sri Lankan shares up from 3-month low

July 9 (Reuters) Shares edged higher on Thursday from their lowest in three months hit in the previous session, as investors picked up battered shares like market heavyweight John Keells Holdings. However, the gains were capped as political uncertainty ahead of the Aug. 17 parliamentary elections weighed on sentiment. Foreign investors continued to exit risky assets for a seventh straight session. The main stock index ended up 0.34% at 6,947.05, edging up from its lowest close since April 10 hit on more..

4294 pass Korean language test

July 9 (Island) SLBFE says 4,294 candidate have passed last month’s Korean Language Proficiency Examination (KLPE) and they are eligible for employment in Korea. The SLBFE published the results of the exam held on June 13 and 14; 13,088 candidates sat it to secure jobs in Korean firms under the Employment Permit System (EPS). The candidates who passed the exam will be allowed to work in the manufacturing sector after passing medical tests. more..

Video: 'SLFP nominations not finalised'

July 9 (DM) The nomination list of the SLFP had not been finalised even though nomination papers were signed, minister Rajitha Senaratne said. “They might be changed,” he said. The nomination list must be signed by President Sirisena as the leader of the SLFP to finalise it. Senaratne said a report had been submitted to President urging that nomination should not be given to those who were charged with various allegations. more..

US to refund GSP concessions retrospectively from July 2013

July 9 (Island) The United States is to refund the duty paid on any of its imports from Sri Lanka and 121 countries that attracted GSP concessions, with effect from July 31, 2013 when it discontinued the facility. Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mahishini Colonne told a news conference in Colombo yesterday, that the discontinuation of the US GSP facility to Sri Lanka was purely due to its internal administrative issues and had nothing to do with any human rights concerns. more..

Increasing number of trishaws, motorcycles, cars worries LPBOA

July 9 (Island) Number of privately owned buses in operation would come down to 10,000 from 20,000 within the next two years, Lanka Private Bus Owner’s Association (LPBOA) President Gemunu Wijeratne warned. "To make matters worse, even the police harshly treat private bus drivers, while checkers and extortionists cause further hardships," he said. He alleged a checker on average extorted as much as Rs 10,000 a day, but most bus owners never took up the issue for fear of reprisal. more..

Govt rebuts ex-President’s allegations on ethanol licences

July 9 (AD) The Ministry of Finance today rejected the allegation made by former President Rajapaksa that the govt in 100 days has issued 28 ethanol licences. Former President had made this allegation on July 01, while announcing his return to politics at Tangalle, attributing it to the Finance Minister as telling the Parliament. Importation of Ethanol into the country is made by liquor manufacturing firms under more..

Army Officer involved in Weligama accident suspended

July 9 (DM) Army Commander Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva, has suspended with immediate effect the service of the Army officer involved in the fatal road accident in Gurubabila, Weligana, which claimed the lives of three persons. The vehicle in which officer was travelling collided with a three-wheeler killing three persons on Tuesday. The Commander has also directed Provost Marshal Brigadier Gamini Sirisena of the Sri Lanka Corps of Military Police and more..

Rajapaksa era gets a new lease on life

July 9 (AT) Six months after he was ousted from power in the presidential election, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is eyeing a political comeback as prime minister. Ironically, his comeback bid has been facilitated by the very person who ejected him from the presidency, his friend-turned-foe, Maithripala Sirisena. Last week, President Sirisena, who also heads the SLFP as well as the coalition it leads, the UPFA, reversed his decision not to allow Rajapaksa to contest the general election more..

Finance Ministry to take Hyatt hotel to FCID

July 9 (CG) On the instruction of the Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake, the Finance Ministry has taken the necessary initiatives to make a formal complaint to the Police Financial Crime Investigation Division (FCID) on the large scale misappropriation of funds and malpractices said to have taken place in the construction of the Hyatt Hotel projects in Colpetty and Hambantota during the last regime, Ministry said today. more..

New institute for Buddhist research

July 9 (DN) Steps have been taken to resume the construction of the Dhamma Charma International Buddhist Research and Training Institute for peace and prosperity, said Ven Kiridigalle Siri Dhamaratne Thera, the chief organiser. The foundation stone was laid for the International Buddhist Center at Polhena, Madapatha, Piliyandala in 2010 but due to unavoidable circumstances the work had to stop temporally. This International Buddhist Center which is to be built under the advice of more..

Push to make Mahinda PM will continue

July 9 (CG) The push to make former President Mahinda Rajapaksa the new PM will continue, Western Province Chief Minister Prassana Ranatunga said today. Ranatunga, who is unsure if he will receive nominations or not from the UPFA to contest the August 17 Parliament elections, said that the people who voted for Rajapaksa at the January Presidential election want him to be PM. Rajapaksa lost the January election to Maithripala Sirisena who eventually took over the leadership more..

Opposition blames int'l groups for meddling

July 9 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's main opposition on Thursday blamed certain international groups for attempting to break the new alliance formed between President Maithripala Sirisena and his predecessor Mahinda Rajapakse. According to media reports, both decided to work together towards the victory of their party at the August parliamentary elections after Rajapakse signed the nomination papers under Sirisena-led UPFA. more..

Sony bags SL-India broadcast rights

July 9 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket has sold broadcast rights for the forthcoming three-Test series against India to Sony for $3.25 million - a $1.85 million increase from the bid the board had originally received from Ten Sports. As part of the new deal, SLC advanced the tour by six days, and moved the third Test from Pallekele to the SSC in Colombo, as Kandy was deemed too prone to rain to host a match in late August. Kumar Sangakkara's farewell Test, meanwhile, was confirmed for more..

Sri Lanka airports authority profit up, faces big loan repayments

July 9 (EN) Sri Lanka’s airport authority increased operational profit in the first four months of 2015 but faces a huge loan repayment for the unused brand new Mattala airport in the south, official data showed. Operational profit of the Airport & Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited (AASL) grew by five percent to 1,472 million rupees in the first four months of 2015 from a year ago as passenger traffic grew. AASL handled over 2.8 million passengers, including 379,449 transit passengers, more..

Sangakkara to end career in Colombo against India

July 9 (Reuters) Sri Lankan batting great Kumar Sangakkara will end his international career at the P Sara Oval next month in the second match of the three-test series against familiar foes India. Last month, Sri Lanka's most prolific batman announced his decision to retire after the second test against India, bringing the curtain down on an illustrious 15-year stay at the crease. Indian and the SL cricket boards announced tour itinerary more..

'UNP will think twice about alliance with SLMC'

July 9 (CT) National Organizer of UNP Daya Gamage said that the party will have to think twice about forming an alliance with the SLMC. He said, "Since this is an instance when the SLMC has been weakened considerably, they want to join the UNP, obtain some oxygen from the UNP and rise again. I think that our party will make a good decision, without agreeing to the number of candidates they request. Last time they had six candidates, then they had five and finally they selected four. more..

Johnston, Mahindananda, Rohitha and Lakshman get nominations

July 9 (AM) Despite President Sirisena's assurances that corrupt MPs of the previous govt would not receive nominations, former Minister Johnston Fernando today signed nominations to contest from the Kurunegala district. Earlier there were rumours that President Sirisena had opposed giving nominations to Fernando and a few other former MPs. However, Fernando has finally managed to get nominations from UPFA to contest for Kurunegala district along with former President more..

Prasanna Ranathunga given nominations

July 9 (AM) Western Province Chief Minister, Prasanna Ranatunga has been given nominations to contest from the UPFA for the General Election, said the Joint Opposition in a special press briefing held today. However, PHU General Secretary, Udaya Gammanpila admitted that there had been several issues earlier before the final decision was made. “Several sacrifices were made but finally happy to say that more..

Drugs Control Board demands death penalty

July 9 (CT) Chairman of the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board, Dr. Nilanga Samarasinghe said that the time has come to remove the legal requirement that of the President's authorization to send drug dealers to the gallows. Death penalty should be implemented as there is a risk of students being sold drugs, tablets and sweets and drinks which has spread across the island. He has pointed out that drug dealing is being carried out more efficiently than before by drug racketeers who more..

CBK leaves for Britain

July 9 (DM) Former President Chandrika Kumarathunga left for Britain last night, amidst rising Political tensions in the country. Kumarathunga a key ally of President Sirisena was reported to have been unhappy over the recent political developments. However, the statement issued by the office of the former President said that the visit was pre- arranged in order to attend an important family event. The statement said that Kumarathunga would clarify her position on the present more..

Video: SF for Colombo, Anoma for Gampaha

July 9 (DM) Democratic Party Leader Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka would contest the general elections from the Colombo District, while his wife Anoma Fonseka would contest from the Gampaha District under the flaming torch symbol, the party said. Ananda Manawadu, the General Secretary of the party said the nominations lists for the two districts was handed over today and said the lists for other districts would be more..

Srisena shift, Maithri-Mahinda moment?

July 10 (CT) Who was it who narrowed the gap between President Sirisena and ex-President Rajapaksa? Whose efforts were strong and effective enough to override the wishes of the external consortium that backed the peaceful regime change of January 8th? Was it the SLFP Establishment, i.e. its top bureaucrats and old warhorses? Was it Basil Rajapaksa? Was it the Buddhist Sangha? Or could it have been the Chinese? Not really. It was Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, whose more..

Ghost Voters

July 10 (CT) Vote rigging and the rig-marole in ballots, and bullets playing an important role in the election and selection of main actors to win Dinaganna and to go to Diyawanna are not something new to Sri Lanka. As everyone knows, in the recent past the de facto state of the North and East was controlled by the Tigers, the voters were muzzled at bayonet point from exercising their sovereign franchise. In the Presidential elections this became a huge plus to the majority party more..

What went wrong for the rainbow coalition

July 10 (Island) Rajiva Wijesinha was one of the main figures in the yahapalana coalition that overthrew President Rajapaksa in January this year. Before former chief justice Sarath N. Silva began to speak up against the yahapalana govt, Rajiva was the most prominent yahapalana intellectual to openly express his discontent at what the new govt was doing. He was also one of the first to cross the floor of parliament. more..

Heartbreaking news from Kekirilanthaya

July 10 (NS) Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) says it will ban any product that uses foreign-produced Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) from entering Colombo because all cancer-causing ingredients in consumer goods must originate in Sri Lanka. All foreign MSG-laced products will be delivered free-of-charge to district cooperative societies where Mahinda Rajapaksa received overwhelming majorities in the last presidential election. CAA said that it is working with local Ajina Moto more..

President Sirisena has a fine line to tread

July 10 (NS) This week saw the emergence of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as a candidate for the upcoming general election when he made a formal announcement to that effect from his home base at Medamulana – although that did not help to clearly demarcate the battle lines for the August poll. Rajapaksa’s much awaited declaration on Wednesday came after frenzied negotiations between stalwarts of the SLFP who were shuttling between Colombo and Kandy and more..

'Chandrika trying to split the SLFP'

July 10 (CT) Former UPFA MP S. M. Chandrasena says that former President Chandrika Kumaratunga should act with more maturity and intelligence. "She should know that she is in a position like a mother to protect the party. However, she is working to split up the SLFP,". Q: What is the future path of the battle to make Mahinda the PM? A: With the unity that has taken place within party, there is an awakening among the public. more..

Devanjali: Ritual, Rites and Reflection

July 10 (ST) On July 18, 2005, the nation bid adieu to Chitrasena. Yet the legacy of this dance legend – the Chitrasena Dance Company led by his third generation of family members determined to stay true to his discipline and ideals has lived on over the years. This year, the Chitrasena Dance Company took to the international stage our ancient ritualistic performances that pay homage to the pantheon of Gods when they premiered their production Devanjali: Ritual, Rites, Reflection at more..

The vote that counts!

July 10 (DN) Whatever side of the political divide we are on, this is a sentiment that we would all undoubtedly agree with. Politics is dirty – because politicians make it dirty. No matter what the party, colour, or political philosophy we have come to accept this as one of life’s certainties – as drearily predictable as death and taxes. Before every election we witness the circus that it has become – the deluge of promises from hopeful candidates; campaign meetings and speeches that more..

Meet Awantha Artigala, SL's quiet cartoonist

July 10 (Scroll) The first time I asked Awantha Artigala for an interview, he laughed and said no. This was partly because we communicated in staccato, he in English (my first language) and I in Sinhala (his first language), both of us struggling to frame sentences. So the second time I asked, I decided to go through a friend who I was hoping would also be an informal referee for me, and eventually a translator. more..

Editorial: Needed: A war

July 10 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena, in his address to the nation, yesterday at the commencement of the National Tobacco, Alcohol and Narcotic Prevention Month (NTANPM) in Ja Ela, stressed the need for a truly national effort to save the country’s youth and children. In dealing with alcohol and tobacco addiction as well as the attendant health issues govts usually choose to contain the problem and focus on prevention; they don’t go all out to eliminate it due to more..

Nominations, a betrayal

July 10 (Island) The editorial of The Island of Saturday the 4th instant made some revelations about the educational qualifications of MPs. We were informed that of the 225 members (less the 20-25 nominated on the National List) 95 had failed the O/L examination and 145 or nearly half of the number of elected MPs had failed the A/L. It is assumed that the other half consists of graduates, professionals and those with post graduate qualifications. more..

Unprotected against abuse

July 10 (NS) The Nation’s tour of north reveals the crimes committed against women and children is on the rise, but victims are more willing to lodge complaints and highlight this social ill. During a time when feminism, women’s rights and violence against women is spoken about at great length, it seems the authorities and relevant govt bodies do not consider women’s issues to be a priority. When contacted by The Nation more..

Rajapaksa redux

July 10 (Economist) Give credit to Mahinda Rajapaksa, a former president of Sri Lanka, for his fighting spirit. In early January voters unexpectedly and narrowly denied him a third successive term in office. An opposition alliance of Tamil, Muslim and disaffected Sinhalese had tired of his authoritarian rule and the presence of several of his brothers in govt. Despite steady economic growth, voters disliked inflation, rising debt and blatant corruption. His overly powerful presidency also more..

Sri Lankan spice delegation to IFT Chicago

July 10 (CT) Sri Lankan spice sector will represent the country at the forthcoming Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) conference 2015 and exhibition of the Institute of Food Technologists which is due to be held in Chicago USA from the 12 to 14 July. Six leading spice exporters from Sri Lanka will participate through the EDB. Two of them are recipients of the Pure Ceylon Cinnamon logo granted from the EDB that is allowed to be used on their products as a marketing tool. more..

Sri Lankan cricket’s journey to the unknown

July 10 (ST) The last Test win against Pakistan I consider as one of the most significant wins in the game’s annals as far as Sri Lanka is concerned. The significance in that win could be deciphered in many ways, but I prefer to dwell upon the part where the country is about to move into the unknown and how a workman like win of this nature would take the case of Lankan cricket into the future. From the beginning of this tour, more..

Focus to achieve more: Navin

July 10 (CT) The certificate awarding ceremony for the Diploma in Sports 2014/2015, conducted by the National Institute of Sports Science (NISS) of the Sports Ministry was held on Wednesday. Minister Navin Dissanayake was the chief guest. Sajith Jayalal, Director NISS and M.I.M. Rafeek, Secretary of Sports and Tourism Ministry too participated. At this ceremony, diplomas and certificates were conferred upon 297 students who successfully completed their programme. more..

Records galore at Bogambara

July 10 (DN) 13 meet records were broken while one was equalled at the Annual Central Province Athletic Championship which is now in progress at the Bogambara Stadium in Kandy, organised by the Department of Education of the Central Province. “Over 4,000 athletes are in action at this championship, including some from the remotest part of Central Province including Kiriwana Eliya close to Adams Peak and Wasgamuwa in Hettipola”, said the Director of Physical education more..