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Revolution, betrayed?

July 10 (FT) On 8 Jan 2015, once he had cast his vote in Polonnaruwa, Maithripala Sirisena and his family made their way to remote coconut estate in Kurunegala. The movement occurred at dusk, when the waning light helped to hide the small convoy of vehicles carrying the future first family to their refuge for election night. When he made the decision to contest Mahinda Rajapaksa for the presidency, Sirisena knew he had placed more..

Sri Lanka, Australia business chamber launched to increase trade

July 10 (EN) Sri Lanka and Australia have set up a Sri Lanka-Australia Chamber of Commerce (SLACC) aimed at increasing trade between the two countries. The SLACC launch was at the New South Wales Business Chamber Head Office in Sydney, Australia, a statement said. The two-way merchandise trade between the two countries amounted to 389 million Australian dollars in 2013/14. Major SL exports to Australia include apparel, tea, rubber and clay construction more..

Four major private banks to lose Rs 50M - If Lanka Rating Agency licence is cancelled

July 10 (CT) Four major Sri Lankan banks collectively stand to lose Rs.50 million as a result of being forced to write-off their equity investment if the SEC were to cancel the licence of the suspended Lanka Rating Agency. This situation arises against a backdrop where global rating agencies are leaving specific regional presence due to weak or small markets were it is impractical to continue to provide such services such as happened in Indonesia where the Indian rating agency ICRA more..

16% of children in rural and estate sectors not attending school

July 10 (Island) In spite of our free education system, nearly 50% of children in the rural areas drop out on the threshold of G.C.E (O/L) while a total of 16% of the children of both rural and estate communities do not attend school at all, Samantha Ranatunga, chairman, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said. "In such circumstances, we in the private sector who pressurise the govt to spend more on education should also play more..

Sri Lanka Tourism to launch Monkey Kingdom in China

July 10 (SLT) In the backdrop of overall arrivals crossing 94,585 at Half Year with China, growth registering a 81.1%, Sri Lanka Tourism will aggressively promote Sri Lanka in the Chinese market by launching the multimillion dollar success Disney epic Monkey Kingdom in Shanghai which will include a partnership with Sri Lanka Airlines where 20 kids will be given a free ticket to visit Polonnaruwa where the Monkey Kingdom was filmed. more..

ADB to fund Sri Lanka Rameshwaram, link

July 10 (DN) The Indian govt is working towards a Rs 22,000 crore project to provide connectivity between India and Sri Lanka. The Asian Development Bank has expressed willingness to provide funding, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said. Besides overhauling these sectors, the government has been trying to improve connectivity with neighbouring nations on high priority basis, he said. After signing pacts with Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal for seamless flow of traffic, more..

Cairn to quit petroleum exploration in SL

July 10 (Hindu) It is now official. An agreement between the SL govt and Cairn Lanka, an entity coming under the umbrella of Cairn India and holding the license for petroleum exploration in the Mannar basin, will come to an end by October. SL Cabinet decided to float fresh global bids to choose an investor for commercially developing natural gas deposits in the Mannar basin. Minister Rajitha Senaratne, revealed the decision of the govt more..

Prof. Nalin pulls out of UPFA national list

July 10 (Island) Prof Nalin de Silva has turned down an offer from the UPFA to place his name on the coalition’s National List. When contacted for comment, Prof. De Silva confirmed that he had asked alliance officials to strike his name off the list. He said that he would have welcomed being on national list had former President Mahinda Rajapaksa decided to contest separately. He alleged that the decision to give nominations to former President Rajapaksa was a political trap more..

GNOA threatens strike in NWP

July 10 (Island) The Govt Nursing Officers Association (GNOA)warned that nurses in the North Western Province would strike if steps were not taken to annul the transfers given to over 400 nurses, in violation of a circular issued by the Elections Commissioner prohibiting transfers in the run-up to elections. President of the GNOA, Saman Ratnapriya said that the Director of Health Services, North Western Province had transferred 475 nurses from Wednesday. more..

UNHRC session: Govt-in-waiting ponders response

July 10 (Island) UPFA General Secretary Susil Premjayantha acknowledged that the govt-in-waiting would have to gear up to face the next Geneva session in September. Premjayantha said that the previous govt had made known its position as regards the accountability issues to the UNHRC several years ago. Consequent to the Jan 8, 2015, presidential election, Maithripala-Ranil administration had reached more..

'Don't take decisions that will reverse January 8 victory'

July 10 (DN) Mahanayaka Thera of the Malwatte Chapter, Most Ven. Thibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thera said President Maithripala Sirisena should not take decisions that would reverse the January 8 victory. "The nation hopes President would take correct decisions to prevent all possibilities of a country regression," he said. Mahanayaka Thera said he was confident the President would take appropriate decisions. He said this to Western Province Opposition more..

‘If Putin can, why can’t Rajapaksa?’

July 10 (Hindu) If Vladimir Putin can become PM after serving as President of Russia, why not Mahinda Rajapaksa? This was the response of Udaya Gammanpila, leader of PHU, a constituent of UPFA, to a question why Mr. Rajapaksa chose to enter the electoral fray. He also wondered why a tiny nation could not experience what a superpower had. Mr Putin, who is holding the post of President since 2012, occupied that post during 2000-2008 and became PM during 2008-2012. more..

Ex-LTTE cadres to run as Independent Group

July 10 (OI) Former cadres of LTTE have decided to contest the Sri Lankan parliament elections as an independent group after the main Tamil party TNA refused to field them in the August 17 polls. "They will contest as independents in the north and east provinces," said Nadesapillai Vithyatharan, the former editor of a Tamil newspaper. "We will field lists from the Jaffna and Wanni districts," Vithyatharan added. more..

Hambantota port second stage water filling

July 10 (DN) The Water Filling Ceremony of the Hambantota Port's second stage will be held on Saturday. Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranathunga will be the chief guest. Only four ships can be berthed at the current sea port, but with the functioning of phase two, eleven ships can be berthed at a time according to the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. The Port which was to attract a high number of ships and investments have not lived up to that potential. more..

‘No evictions in Colombo’

July 10 (Island) Minister Ravi Karunanayake said that no person living in Colombo will be relocated or evicted from their premises without making proper arrangements for relocation and without providing proper substitute housing. He made these remarks while holding a meeting with the youth of the Mattakkuliya area. Addressing the gathering Karunanayake said that the govt has taken steps to speed up the Hisata Sevanak programme, whose objective it is to ensure housing more..

Tea workers issue fresh warning over new wage formula

July 10 (FT) The All Island Estate Workers Association (AIEWA) yesterday threatened to continue island-wide work slow-downs if the Planters Association (PA) fails to revise its wage formula within 14 days. In response to the go-slow campaign that was commenced from 6 July, the PA has ordered the closure of factories belonging to 23 tea companies until such time that disagreements with regard to wages are straightened out. more..

President's turnaround on UPFA nominations: Civil Society dejected

July 10 (DN) Key civil society members, who were instrumental in the election victory of President Maithripala Sirisena in January, have expressed disappointment over the nomination process of the UPFA during a meeting held with the President on Wednesday night. They informed the President that the civil society felt betrayed and cheated after the UPFA agreed to give nomination to former President Rajapaksa to contest the Parliamentary election from the UPFA. more..

CID grills Sarath De Abrew

July 10 (DM) SC Judge Sarath De Abrew had been quizzed by the officers of the CID for nearly four hours on Wednesday over the allegation that he had assaulted and sexually abused one of his domestic aides. A CID team that arrived at the Mount Lavinia Magistrate’s Court premises, questioned the judge from 3.30 p.m. to 7.00 p.m. at a special chamber. CID had to come to court premises since Justice Abrew, who was asked to report to the CID for a statement, refused to do so. more..

No control over nominations: President

July 10 (FT) Sobitha Thero snubs Sirisena, refuses to attend Wednesday night meeting President Sirisena who met civil society leaders that strongly backed his presidential bid in January at his residence on Wednesday night, said the final decision on granting nominations to his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa was not in his hands. Leaders of civil society movements and trade union collectives were invited for talks with more..

Big Pharma has not given up

July 10 (DM) Transnational pharmaceutical corporations which are among the biggest profit-making businesses in the world, do not give up easily in any country and they are not giving up in Sri Lanka though a new National Medicines Regulatory Authority was sworn in last Thursday and a gazette notification issued to that effect. According to insiders the earlier Cosmetics Drugs and Devices Regulatory Authority (CDDRA) has now been dissolved in terms of a law passed more..

The draconian Devil is at our doorstep

July 10 (DM) No wonder the media fraternity was taken by surprise when they heard of the return of the state-run Press Council last week. This total ‘U’ turn of the policies of the Yahapalana regime, could be one of many such surprises that we are witnessing today. The promise of President Sirisena was to uphold media freedom through strengthening its related institutions; but what we are witnessing today is entirely opposite to what he preached from political platform. more..

'Honestly is a way of life'

July 10 (DM) I had very clear thoughts on this subject. I passionately detested dishonesty and still do and always wanted to eliminate corruption wherever I worked. I have sometimes asked myself from where I acquired this deep dislike of dishonesty and corruption. I believe it comes from my upbringing at home and my training at school. I cannot remember my parents ever telling me specifically that we should be honest, nor more..

'We don’t have a Mahinda Rajapaksa phobia'

July 10 (FT) “We don’t have a Mahinda Rajapaksa phobia. We have defeated him and he is no longer a threat to us. Remember, our party is not in politics to defeat Rajapaksa,” says Nishantha Warnasinghe, Media Spokesperson of the United National Front for Good Governance (Jathika Hela Urumaya). Q: What are you plans for the upcoming election? A: Our party decided to contest the election alone. more..

Violating tender procedures cost millions to the state

July 10 (SL) A scam in a project related to the Environment Ministry during the previous regime that has cost the state millions of rupees has now come to light. Although this has been unearthed by the Government Auditors and the Environment Ministry Internal Auditors respectively with evidence, it is interesting to note that the committee appointed to investigate the alleged malpractice had released a report white washing the massive scam. more..

Ranawaka says by chasing after power one cannot be an exemplary leader

July 10 (Island) Minister Champika Ranawaka said that with the rapid development of social indicators of the country, now the time had come for evolving an advanced political culture. He was addressing the commemoration of the centenary of Henry Pedris’ execution at the hands of the colonial administration during the 1915 Sinhala-Muslim riots in Ceylon held at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute (SLFI) on Wednesday more..

The new Sri Lanka

July 10 (CNT) My first visit to the tea-growing island of Sri Lanka was in 1981, when I was part of the Guardian newspaper cricket team. Every single man in that bunch of dreamers, cranks and prima donnas fell in love with the place. In our run-down Colombo hotel it would take half an hour for a pot of tea to come at breakfast; when your eggs arrived they might bear no relation to what you'd ordered, but you couldn't face another more..

Fisheries harbours in murky waters

July 10 (ST) Payments on a multi-million rupee consultancy for conducting feasibility studies and designing fisheries harbours in Silawathura, Gurunagar and Gandara have been suspended pending a review, officials said. The assignment was awarded last year to Power Asia Consultants which, according to its website, was incorporated in 2014. The company has estimated each harbour to cost around Rs. 6 billion, more..

Many ways to fix a meter but the end could be near

July 10 (ST) Electronic meters will be mandatory for all three-wheelers shortly and steps will be taken to ensure they are maintained to the required standard given the numerous frauds being perpetrated. None of the meters currently in use have been approved by the Measurements Units Standards and Service Department (MUSSD) because there is no means of verifying the accuracy of the readings, MUSSD Acting Director more..

Navy Commander Jayantha Perera appointed to rank of Admiral

July 10 (CG) President Maithripala Sirisena, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, has promoted the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Vice Admiral Jayantha Perera to the rank of Admiral with effect from 09th July 2015, the Navy media unit said. Admiral Jayantha Perera has been decorated with Rana Wickrama Padakkama for gallantry and awarded with many other medals that include more..

Coalition Opposition confirms its victory

July 10 (FT) The coalition Opposition yesterday stressed that the UPFA victory was confirmed with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa contesting the forthcoming election. Addressing a press briefing, NFF Leader and formedfher UPFA Parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa asserted that the UPFA would show how real good governance should be after the victory. “We have already confirmed the UPFA’s victory on 17 August. more..

EU to provide Euro 1.2 million for polls work

July 10 (CG) The Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives and Transparency International Sri Lanka have signed a project with a financial envelope of Euro 1.2 million. The 18 month initiative aims at supporting the upcoming Parliamentary Elections through various activities such as voter education and election observation. As an integral part of the project, support and training will be provided more..

Reunited SLFP

July 10 (CT) Wednesday's joint press conference by SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and Susil Premajayantha, the party's National Organizer and the General Secretary of the UPFA, the coalition it leads, appeared to give the impression of a divided SLFP on the eve of a crucial general election. The issue revolved round former President Mahinda Rajapaksa's candidacy on the UPFA ticket. The briefing seemingly revealed that neither Yapa, the SLFP's General Secretary, more..

Rajapaksa: The greatest machiavellian ever

July 10 (CT) On the eve of the Presidential Election in 1999, the PA manifesto promised the people that its future political programme would be based on their inalienable sovereign rights; a vibrant democracy based on law; and a society where human values would be upheld. The promises further included the introduction of a new Constitution ensuring social justice, abolishing the Executive Presidency, and the establishment of a Constitutional Council. more..

Pakistan target upward push in ODI rankings

July 10 (CI) Pakistan have recently been whitewashed in Bangladesh. Sri Lanka's last ODI outing was that traumatic Sydney World Cup quarterfinal against South Africa. Both teams have lost key men. Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi have stepped off the one-day planet. Sangakkara and Mahela have disappeared over the horizon. These teams are not so much waging high-octane battle in the 5-ODI series, as conducting experiments. more..

Shares end higher on Keells, Dialog Axiata

July 10 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares edged higher on Friday, gaining for a second session, led by market heavyweight John Keells Holdings Plc and Dialog Axiata. However, share sales by foreign investors continued for an eighth straight session. Gains were capped as political uncertainty ahead of the Aug. 17 parliamentary elections dented investor appetite. The main stock index ended up 0.53% or 37.07 points at 6,984.12. On Wednesday, it hit a three-month low. more..

Somawansa gets on JHU bandwagon

July 10 (Island) Former JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe who recently formed a new party Janatha Sevaka Party to become its leaders has decided to contest the upcoming polls under the JHU-led Eksath Yahapalana Jathika Peramuna (United National Front for Good Governance). Amarasinghe would contest under the Diamond symbol of the new front from the Kalutara District. Amarasinghe, contacted for comment, confirmed that he would contest from Kalutara District more..

Video: SLMC to contest under UNP ticket

July 10 (DM) The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) has decided to contest on the UNP ticket at the upcoming general election, SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem said today. He said the SLMC would contest under the UNP ticket in the districts of Puttalam, Kalutara, Ampara, Kurunegala, Kandy, Gampaha and Trincomalee while contesting under the ‘Tree’ symbol of the SLMC in the districts of Baticaloa and Vanni. more..

Colombo firm fined for attempting to smuggle out undersize lobsters

July 10 (Island) Customs at BIA on Monday arrested a company employee attempting to smuggle out 140.9 kilos of undersize lobsters worth over Rs. 1.4 million to Taiwan via Air Cargo. Customs spokesman Leslie Gamini said that 683 lobsters recovered from nine boxes were alive and they had been released to the sea. The company had declared them as edible fish to customs but they had not obtained a permit from Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Department, he said. more..

Sri Lanka Port to seek equity partner for new container terminal

July 10 (EN) Sri Lanka Ports Authority is to offer for an operator for its third container terminal which is nearing completion, who will also be given an equity stake, as its first terminal loses business to competition in Sri Lanka and outside. The so-called East Terminal of the port with a 450 meter long jetty and container yard is nearing completion. Inside Colombo Port, John Keells Holdings already operates the South Asia Gateway Terminals (SAGT) and China Merchant Holdings operates more..

Champika, Rajitha, Arjuna and nearly 10 ex-UPFA MPs likely to contest from UNP

July 10 (AM) A group of ex-Parliamentarians of the UPFA are presently holding discussions with the UNP on forming a common political front against former President Mahinda Rjapaksa to contest the forthcoming Parliamentary election. The group include Champika Ranawaka, Rajitha Senaratne, Arjuna Ranatunga, M.K.D.S. Gunawardena and several other ex-MPs of the UPFA. more..